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What Divorce Expenses Are Tax Deductible

So, if you are reading this article and it is not yet the year 2026. There is no way to deduct your divorce lawyer`s fees. If you have specific questions about whether your legal expenses are tax deductible, you should contact your CPA or Tanya Ouellette, CPA, at Raiche & Co. in Dover, NH. Tanya has been a Chartered Accountant for over 16 years and can be contacted at In addition, IRS documents later pointed out that «attorneys` fees and other expenses paid in connection with a divorce, separation, or executive order are not deductible from the husband or wife.» § 1.262-1 (b) (7), Income Tax Ordinance. Generally, only the custodial parent (the one with whom the children live most of the year) can claim the child tax credit or the other parents credit for eligible children of a divorced couple. For 2021, the child tax credit can reach $3,600 per child aged 5 and under, or $3,000 per child aged 6 to 17. Loan instalments will also be paid monthly from July to December 2021. Older children may be eligible for the Other Dependant Loan, which can be up to $500 per eligible dependant.

You can deduct support you pay to an ex-spouse if the divorce agreement was in effect before the end of 2018. Otherwise, it is not deductible (or taxable for the beneficiary). You will also lose the deduction if the agreement is amended after 2018 to exclude support from your ex-spouse`s income. This requires a distinction between an asset and the income of the asset. Attorneys` fees related to asset allocation are not tax deductible, while attorneys` fees associated with income from an asset are tax deductible, especially attorneys` fees associated with the collection of support (we call it maintenance in Illinois), are tax deductible. Your marital status as of December 31 checks your registration status. So if you separate but are not officially divorced before the end of the year, you can still file a joint return (which will likely save you money) or choose the «separated married» status for the tax return you file for the year of your separation. You can also register as a head of household (and benefit from a larger standard deduction and more flexible tax brackets) if you have lived separately from your spouse for the last six months of the year, filed separate returns, lived with you as a dependant for more than half of the year, and paid more than half of the maintenance of your home.

In addition, a divorce involves one of the spouses taking steps to protect their business from the other spouse`s machinations through a protection order. Cancellation fees associated with defending a business against a spouse are deductible. A taxpayer is «entitled to deductions, including transmission deductions, for the portion of the attorneys` fees associated with the protection order» Liberty Vending, Inc.c. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1998-177. If you and your ex decide to sell your home as part of your divorce, the timing can have tax consequences. Usually, the law allows you to avoid tax on the first profit of $250,000 from the sale of your principal residence if you owned the home and lived there for at least two of the last five years. Married couples who apply together can exclude up to $500,000. For post-divorce sales, if the two-year ownership and use criteria are met, you and your ex can each exclude up to $250,000 in profit from your individual returns. • A potential beneficiary of alimony hires a lawyer to help him obtain support from his future ex-spouse.

The portion of the lawyer`s fees incurred to obtain support would be tax deductible. • The former spouse stops paying the maintenance ordered by the court. The beneficiary must ask the court not to comply in order to enforce the support order and receive the support to which he or she is entitled. The beneficiary hires a lawyer to assist him. These lawyers` fees are tax deductible. • The parties divorce and the husband receives part of the woman`s pension account. The husband hires a lawyer to help him prepare a qualified domestic relations order (or QDRO, which divides the retirement account). The legal fees that the husband pays to insure this future source of income are tax deductible. In plain language, spouses can deduct divorce-related attorneys` fees incurred to generate or collect taxable spousal support, but not to defend against it.

A federal appeals court made this clear years ago in Hunter v. U.S., 219 F.2d 69 (2d Cir.1955). Expenses incurred to oppose a maintenance claim or to reduce the maintenance obligation are not tax deductible. On the other hand, lawyers` fees incurred to obtain an increase in taxable support payments or to defend against a reduction are tax deductible. To qualify as deductible support, cash payments must be specified in your divorce agreement. You`ll also need to declare your ex-spouse`s Social Security number so the IRS can make sure he or she declares child support as taxable income. In most cases, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not allow parties to a divorce to deduct attorneys` fees, court costs, and other expenses incurred in pursuing a divorce, legal separation, or spousal support order. However, in limited situations, a party may be able to deduct costs that are directly attributable to a tax notice regarding the possible tax consequences of that divorce, separation judgment or taxable support. If the two-year criteria have not been met, sales after a divorce may still qualify for a reduced exclusion. The tax-exempt profit limit in this case depends on the part of the two-year period during which the house was owned and used. For example, if it was one year instead of two, you can exclude $125,000 in profit each.

What happens if you get the house in the divorce agreement and sell it a few years later? Then you`re stuck with the $250,000 maximum. .