Taxes and Divorce – What to Watch Out For

Nearly 60% of Americans hire someone to do their taxes for them each year. Needless to say, filing your taxes isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Attempting to file your taxes while in the midst of a divorce can be even trickier due to the changing nature of your marital status. Many people do not even realize the implications a divorce can have on their tax filing status until the following tax season rolls around. When it comes to taxes and divorce, consulting a tax specialist or experienced divorce lawyer is important so that all your specific questions can be answered.  Listed below are a few important tax topics to be aware of while working to obtain a divorce.

The Date of Dissolution (Filing Status)

Until now, checking the “Filing Status” box with a response of ‘Married’ or ‘Single’ has been quite simple. With a pending divorce decree in the court system, this question may now be more difficult to answer. According to Arizona law, if a couple is still legally married as of December 31st of that tax year, the couple may file jointly. If the divorce is finalized on or before December 31st, the couple will be considered divorced for the entire tax year and cannot file jointly.

Separated spouses who wish to claim Head of Household filing status (and receive a greater tax deduction) must meet the following criteria:

  • You and your spouse must have lived apart during the last six months of the tax year
  • Your and your spouse’s dependent children must have lived with you for more than half the year
  • You must have paid more than half of housing costs for the year.

If you feel you meet these requirements but have more questions, seek the help of a certified tax specialist.

Community Property Laws in Arizona

If your divorce is not yet finalized, but you and your spouse choose to file separate tax returns, you must list one half of the joint income as your own, regardless of which spouse earned the money. Community Property law in Arizona dictates that all income in your marriage is considered joint income until your marriage has been dissolved.

Tax Exemptions and Deductions

Tax exemptions for dependent children generally go to the primary custodian (or the parent with whom the child lived for more than half of the filing year). Spouses can also choose which parent will receive the exemption by filling out Form 8332 and agreeing to the exemption in writing. Keep in mind that as of 2013, having a dependent can reduce your taxable income by almost $4,000.

Spousal maintenance and child support payments are treated differently on your taxes. Spousal maintenance is tax deductible. It is considered income for the spouse receiving spousal maintenance and qualifies as a deduction for the spouse paying it. If you receive a large spousal maintenance payment, you will probably owe the IRS more in taxes at the end of the year. Keep this in mind when determining if you want spousal maintenance as part of the divorce settlement. Conversely, child support payments are not tax deductible, nor can they be considered a source of income for the recipient.

Retirement Plans

When divorce occurs later in life, the safety of your retirement fund becomes critical. A document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will be important to understand early on in the divorce as this can allow you to use the benefits from your spouse’s 401(k) as your own. It will also divide the money you’ve saved equally between you and your spouse when you split.

Property Taxes

If you gain property through a divorce settlement, such as the family house or other tangible assets, you will be taxed when you sell them based on the profits you have earned.

Consulting with a tax professional and having an experienced family law attorney like Brad Crider in your corner will minimize the difficulty of your tax-filing process so you can focus on the more important aspects during this difficult time of your life. The Arizona family law attorney offices of Brad Crider are particularly adept at the complex division of assets. Call Crider Law to set up an initial consultation with an attorney who will work for you to be free of devastating tax consequences once the divorce is through.

The Benefits of Post-Nuptial Agreements

While many engaged couples find prenuptial agreements unnecessary and unromantic, a few years of marriage can sometimes make a post-nuptial agreement sound pretty enticing. Post-nuptial agreements are not just a selfish means of getting what you want in the event of a divorce, though. They are also useful tools for protecting joint finances, establishing mutual understanding in legal matters, and keeping a marriage (whether struggling or not) in tact for years to come.

Most couples mutually agree that the benefits of post-nuptial agreements outweigh any conflict surrounding its creation. There are few regulations in Arizona law surrounding what can and cannot be written into a postnuptial agreement. Anything from division of assets to division of household chores can be legally agreed upon. It is best to get an idea of the things that are most important in your financial and personal relationship with your spouse, whatever they may be, before hiring an attorney. Once you have established the bulk of what you want to cover in your agreement, working with an experienced family law attorney such as Brad Crider of Crider Law will help you to settle differences and create a legally binding agreement between you and your spouse.

If financial irresponsibility or excessive gambling is a point of marital conflict, a postnuptial agreement can set enforceable spending limitations and determine who is responsible for debts incurred. You can also write in stipulations for how children will be supported, even after they turn 18 and are no longer considered minors. In the unfortunate event that you and your spouse do get divorced before this time, your responsibility to provide for your children will still be shared between you and your spouse.

When there is a significant change in the financial status of either you or your spouse, such as receiving an unexpected inheritance or losing a small fortune in the stock market, consider drawing up a postnuptial agreement to protect your economic assets in case of future divorce or death.

To set up an initial consultation with an experienced family law attorney who can help you protect your assets and your life when marital circumstances change, call Crider Law today. Brad Crider will work to understand your individual needs and draw up an agreement that is beneficial for the emotional and economic well being of you and your spouse.

Divorce: Where to Start?

Whether you have just been served divorce papers, recently made the decision to initiate a divorce, or seen divorce on the horizon for quite some time, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all that must be done. Aside from the emotional consequences of this change, there are important legal, financial, and practical matters that must be taken care of. You will have to make difficult personal decisions, such as deciding how to discuss this decision with your spouse, children, and extended family, but the Crider Law Firm is committed to personally guiding you through the legal process every step of the way. Here are some helpful steps you can take to start the divorce process off right.


  1. Take a big step back. Spend some time carefully considering the implications of the divorce on all parties involved. When you have a clear understanding of what you hope to accomplish through the divorce, then you can start taking the necessary steps to reach your goals.


  1. Gather information, documents, and paperwork. Create a record of your joint and individual assets and debts. Make a digital and hard copy file of the following documents:
    • tax returns
    • pay stubs
    • mortgage statements
    • checking and savings account statements for the past 2 years
    • debts in your and/or your spouse’s name
    • statements from IRA accounts, pension plans, or mutual funds
    • title, registration, and outstanding debts on all vehicles

Note: Arizona follows community property laws, which means that marital assets are divided fairly between spouses upon divorce. If either spouse acquired assets, monies, or debts prior to your marriage, documentation must be provided to ensure it will be considered separate property in a court of law.


  1. Talk to your spouse and arrange practical accommodations. This will likely be one of the most difficult parts of the divorce process. Depending on the quality of the relationship between you and your spouse, there could be a lot of contention, conflict, and mixed emotions when this conversation takes place. Have a plan ready outlining living arrangements, parenting time ideas, and practical solutions before you have this discussion. Be open and willing to compromise on these points though and keep a level head. The way your spouse handles the news will determine the next best steps to take.


  1. Choose the best legal route.
  • If you and your spouse are in agreement on most things, divorce mediationmay be a less stressful and more cost-effective option to settle the divorce. Once a settlement agreement has been reached through mediation, have an experienced family law attorney like Brad Crider look it over to ensure it is in your best interest. He can then help you submit all necessary documents to the legal system for an expedited settlement process.
  • If your spouse is less agreeable, you may choose a collaborative divorce in which your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will work with you outside the court room to come to a settlement decision that works for both parties.
  • If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, a judge will determine the divorce settlement and custody arrangements through litigation in court. Making sure you have a well-versed legal representative and divorce lawyer on your side will be paramount in determining the outcome of the divorce litigation.


To help you decide which method of representation will best meet your needs, and to begin taking the steps toward a divorce, set up an initial consultation with Brad Crider today.

Are You Prepared to Initiate a Divorce?

You’ve been fighting with your spouse for years, there is no intimacy left in your marriage, and you want out. Many feelings of indecision, doubt, fear, and frustration flood your mind regularly and you just want it to end. Divorce seems like the only choice you have. While it is true that many people who feel this way do choose to end their marriage, it is important that you ask yourself how ready you are for the inevitable changes that come along with divorce. Taking the necessary time to prepare yourself for divorce will save you from future emotional and financial battles later on.

You must be willing to separate your life from that of your spouse in every way: emotionally, physically, spiritually, practically, and financially. To determine if you are legitimately prepared for this change, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do you still have feelings for your spouse? These strong feelings may mask themselves as anger, hate, or passionate rage that you interpret to mean you no longer care for your partner. However, this may actually mean that you do care deeply for the individual you share your life with and you may not be fully prepared to let that person go.
  2. Are you just threatening divorce to try to get your way? The more you threaten your partner with divorce, the less impact your threats will have. If you are truly ready for divorce, you will feel comfortable saying, “There is nothing more I can give to this relationship. I am at peace with closing this chapter of my life.”
  3. Are you harboring ulterior motives for divorce? Do you secretly hope a divorce will cause your spouse to change for the better, treat you better, or make them realize what they are losing? These ulterior motives indicate that you are still very attached to the idea of this person as a major fixture in your life.
  4. Are you making this decision as an emotional reaction or based on an awareness of your true feelings about your relationship? People who get divorced out of anger usually stay angry for a long time after the divorce is over and done with. Moving on will prove difficult if you merely blame your partner for everything falling apart. Take responsibility for your decision to end the relationship because you feel it is no longer what is best for either party.
  5. Have you resolved your internal conflict about the divorce? It is normal to be torn about your decision at first as you weigh the pros and cons of this life-changing decision. Many people feel sure of their decision while simultaneously feeling guilty. It is imperative to acknowledge the contradictory emotions you have, come to terms with your feelings, and reach a determined conclusion before you decide to file for divorce.
  6. Can you adapt to the inevitable changes? If you are opposed to major changes in your finances, lifestyle, or traditions, the relationship you have with your children, or are unwilling to accept the possibility of venturing into the unknown, you are not ready for divorce. These may be things you work through as you go through the divorce process, but the divorce process will go much smoother if you learn to become comfortable with change before you instigate it.
  7. Can you make mature decisions regarding the future of your ex-spouse and children? Are you seeking vengeance against a spouse that wronged you or are you willing to compromise on important logistical matters? Are you placing your own selfish desires above the good of your family?

If you can comfortably answer these questions, you are more prepared for divorce than most people who file for divorce in society today. The more comfortable you are with change, compromise, and letting go, the easier it will be for a collaborative divorce to take place. To set up an initial consultation with an experienced family law attorney who will help you mediate your divorce proceedings, call Brad Crider at Crider Law today.

The Initial Consultation

With the many complex components that factor into a divorce, it is important to have an attorney on your side that is dedicated to your case and has ample experience in areas specific to your needs. Divorce can be a scary, emotionally trying, and completely foreign experience, so it’s important to have some questions ready for your attorney when you arrive for your initial consultation. Seeking answers to some of these questions will give you the confidence you need to choose an attorney who can get you the best results.


  • Find out how many cases your attorney has successfully handled through mediation and how many have been settled in court. Every case will be different depending on the personalities and the needs of the individuals involved, but it is important to know that your attorney can settle divorce effectively in both the courtroom and the mediation room.
  • What is your attorney’s specialty? Discuss specific concerns you have regarding your individual case and find out what level of experience your attorney has in dealing with these issues. Some examples include negotiating unusual child support, complex financial assets, and business valuation. Arizona family law attorney Brad Crider is an expert in dealing with financial and business dealings in divorce.
  • Before you meet with an attorney, you should think about whether you’d like to pursue a more amiable collaborative divorce, use third party mediation, or go to court. Be realistic in deciding which methods will work best for your case. If you and your spouse have a hostile relationship for example, avoid spending the extra money, time, and frustration to pursue a collaborative divorce. Be sure there is not a conflict of interest between your attorney, your spouse, or your spouse’s attorney.


  • Ask about any other parties that will be involved in your case. If another attorney will be working on your case jointly or independently, find out his/her credentials and level of experience.
  • Discuss the means of communication (phone, email, etc.) that work best for both of you. Find out how often, what days, and what time of day you should expect to meet. Make sure your attorney will be able to give your case the attention it deserves.
  • How involved will you be in the case? Will your attorney notify you of or ask your opinion about any and/or all developments or setbacks?


  • Make sure you know up front how much you will be expected to pay and budget accordingly. From the attorney’s answers to previous questions, evaluate if what they can offer you is worth a slightly higher retainer fee or hourly rate.
  • Discuss the billing procedures and draw up a detailed fee agreement for all parties to sign.

Contact Crider Law to set up your initial consultation today. Brad Crider understands that your case is unique and he will work with you and for you to ensure the best possible results. He tailors his approach to meet the needs of each client and always has your best interest in mind.