Getting Divorced: Should You File Joint or Separate Tax Returns?

If you are getting divorce or recently divorced, one of the many questions you will have is, “Should I file my tax return separately or jointly?”

Most accountants will tell you to file a joint tax return as you will pay less taxes than if you both file a separate return.  If you and your soon-to-be-ex use the same accountant, you can have the accountant calculate your tax return by first using a joint tax return and then calculate your tax returns by using two separate returns. Your accountant can then explain the difference in taxes between the two alternatives.

There might be good reasons why you want to file two separate tax returns. If you believe your soon-to-be-ex is filing false or misleading information, then filing a separate tax return will protect you. Filing a separate tax return may also help you qualify for more financial aid for college or for more government programs.

However, if you are going to file a separate tax return, you might have to take into consideration the Court’s viewpoint on whether or not you can file separately.  Since, filing separately most likely will result in paying more taxes, a Court might view this as “wasteful”.  If you are unsure and want to file a separate return, you or your attorneys should request the Court’s permission to file a separate return.  In that application, you should be prepared to inform the Court on the monetary difference between filing a joint return and two separate returns.

If you have children and you are going to file two separate tax returns, you need to determine who is going to claim the children as an exemption (also known as a deduction).  Each exemption could be worth thousands of dollars.

Since each person’s financial situation is different, before making the decision on whether to file a separate or joint tax return, it is imperative that you talk to an accountant (or other tax professional) before filing your taxes.  You also need to inform your divorce attorney on what you want to do.

If you are seeking a divorce and have questions on your taxes, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at or visit our website at

The Badanes Law Office main office is in Northport, Suffolk County and he has a satellite office in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Getting Divorced: Why Change Your Will And Other Estate Planning Documents?

If you are getting divorced or are recently divorced, you most likely need to change your Will and other estate planning documents. The following is a list of the Estate Planning Documents that you need to review and most likely change.

Your Will:

It is extremely important to change your Will or to make sure you that have one. In New York, it is important to know that until your divorce is final, your spouse is entitled to approximately one-third of your estate.

Most people will list their spouse as the executor of their estate. If you are getting divorced, you do not want your ex-spouse to be your executor.

Also, many Wills will have a built-in Trust, you probably do not want your ex-spouse to be the Trustee of any Trusts.

Any Trusts:

As stated above, you should remove your ex-spouse as a Trustee under any Trusts you may have. In addition, if your Trust leaves any money towards your ex-spouse, you probably want to change that as well.

However, if you have an irrevocable trust, then you might not be able to change it. An irrevocable trust, with very few exceptions, is irrevocable and cannot be changed the minute it is signed. This is why an irrevocable trust should state, in the document itself, that if there is a divorce, the beneficiary is not your ex-spouse.

Power of Attorney:

This is another estate planning document that you should have and that you should change upon a divorce. A Power of Attorney gives your agent – which in most cases, you named your spouse – the ability to make financial decisions.

Living Will and Health Care Proxy:

Finally, you should change your Health Care Proxy and Living Will to name someone besides your ex-spouse as your health care agent.

The Badanes Law Office and David Badanes has helped hundreds of clients in obtaining their divorce. David Badanes also helps clients in Estate Planning and in drafting Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney, Living Wills and Health Care Proxies.

The Badanes Law Office services clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County and in New York City.  If you are thinking of getting a divorce, or changing your attorney, then call the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email David Badanes at The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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