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Robert N. Getz

The tax impacts of divorce are set to change in 2019

Several tax impacts of divorce will be changing with the new year. In Washington, getting a divorce takes at least 91 days, so if you are just starting this process, it is important to understand these changes and how they might affect you.

Spousal maintenance

Perhaps the biggest tax change for divorcees in 2019 affects spousal maintenance, sometimes called alimony. Spousal maintenance is when one person provides continuing income to a former spouse who did not earn wages or earned low wages during their marriage.

In 2019, the money paid for spousal maintenance will no longer be tax-deductible. Also, the money received as spousal maintenance will no longer be considered taxable income. A recent Forbes article notes that this change will likely result in additional disputes for divorcing couples as the higher-wage earner fights to pay less and the lower-wage earner fights to receive more.

Marital house

Many divorcing couples will fight extensively over who will end up with the house. However, it is important to consider that the tax benefits of owning a home are changing. The new tax laws have reduced the deductibility of property taxes and reduced the amount of mortgage that qualifies for interest deduction.

These and other changes make it more expensive to own a home. For some, this extra expense may be a reason to let the house go in favor of renting or purchasing a smaller home elsewhere.

Children

Only one parent can claim a child on taxes, even if the parents share joint custody. While this has caused many arguments among divorced couples over the years, it may be less of a concern after the new tax laws go into effect.

Because of changes in the new tax laws, children will not be as big of tax deductions as they used to be. Taxpayers will no longer be able to receive a $4,050 exemption per child. However, the child tax credit has increased from $1000 to $2000.

Because so many tax changes are afoot, it is important to stay informed. Only with a full understanding of the laws will you be able to navigate these changes toward the best possible outcome for your divorce.

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