Divorce Doesn't Necessarily Divorce You From Ex's Tax Trouble

It isn't unusual for one spouse within a marriage to take over the tax filing process. Just because it isn't unusual, however, doesn't mean that the situation is wise. Particularly for those who are in the process or think that they might divorce, they should be in the know regarding their financial situation.

Though a divorce technically ends a marriage and sets spouses up to lead individually lives and file taxes separately, the taxes that they filed jointly can come around to haunt them. Divorce doesn't end all ties between two people who built a life together, whether it's because they have kids or filed joint taxes.

Marriage comes with a level of responsibility for each other. When taxes are filed jointly, it isn't just the husband's name but the wife's name on the papers as well. That means if something is wrong or misleading on the documents, either party can be targeted to make up for the problem.

Financial planning during divorce settlements can be the most complex aspect of the family law process. It includes talks of child support, alimony, property division, etc. But it should also involve tax talk. While a spouse and her legal team verify the income of the other spouse for support matters, it would also be wise to verify details of tax documents.

If something is wrong with the filing, even if it is just the one spouse's error or lie that's the problem, the government will go after the other "innocent" spouse for the bad taxes. The money owed on those bad taxes could significantly dig into the support settlements negotiated during the divorce process, damaging the financial stability that a newly divorced person might think that they secured.

Source: New York Daily News, "One more reason to hate your ex: you could get hit with his or her tax bill," Phyllis Furham, April 5, 2013

  • Our Harrisburg family lawyers handle tax and divorce matters. Visit our website to learn more about this subject and other issues related to divorce.
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