Your Life

Your Life

Major life milestones often have a major tax impact. Changes in your marital status, having a baby or adopting a child can have significant impact on your taxes. This is the place to ask questions about dependents, real estate, and other various scenarios that play a significant role in what taxes you pay.

Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-14-2017

Divorce finalize early 2018.

My divorce will be finalized in Jan 2018. 

I am stay home mom. I am PPR. My soon to be ex is paying temp support for me and CS for my minor child.

Will it be advantageous for me to file MFS or MFJ?

No nortgage. No student loan.

I am spending on attorney fees myself.

Pendente lite received in 2017.

Alimony will start after divorce is finalized in 2018.

We separated in April 2017.

Can you advise. Thanks!

Trusted Council Member
Posts: 6,191
Registered: ‎02-23-2016

Re: Divorce finalize early 2018.

Hi Lifelesson1,



Welcome to the H&R Block community.


Have you lived apart from your spouse for at least the last six months of 2017?


If the answer to that questions is "YES" then you may be able to file as a head of household.  The most advantageous status for a married couple is MFJ.  If you still live with your spouse or if they are willing to file jointly with you then that's your best option.  Head of Household is just as beneficial though if you want to or need to file by yourself.


You can file as a head of household in a separation situation in which you are still legally married if:

  • you lived apart from your spouse for at least the last six months of the year
  • you have a dependent qualifying child whom you claim on your tax return
  • you paid at least 50% of the upkeep costs of your home (rent or mortgage, utilities, repairs, food, renters/homeowners insurance)


You have a qualifying child if:

  • your child lived with you for more than six months out of the year
  • your child is under age 18 or under age 24 and in school full time
  • your child did not file a joint return with another taxpayer
  • your child is related to you
  • your child provided less than 50% of his or her own support


You are the custodial parent if:

  • your child resided with you for more nights during the year than with his or her other parent or any other person who could claim him or her
  • your child resided with you for more than six months out of the year


The custodial parent part of this is important if you get into a situation where the other parent wants to claim the child's exemption.  Whomever is the custodial parent always gets to file as head of household and claim the EIC and the dependent care credit.  The non-custodial parent may claim the child's exemption, the child tax credit, and any education credit that the child is due provided that they have a signed copy of Form 8332 from the child's custodial parent.


If you use the MFS filing status then you will only be able to claim the child tax credit.  The other child-related benefits are not allowed when filing MFS.  If you do not qualify for the head of household exception then you must file either MFS or MFJ.



If you have any other questions I'll be glad to help.



Senior Tax Advisor (Tampa, FL)