If my divorce didn’t process until early in 2019, but we had lived independently for two years, do I have to file my 2018 taxes as married but separate?

Feb 14, 2019

My divorce didn't go through until Jan. 4, 2019, but my ex and I have lived separately for almost two years. We didn't help each other financially during that time. Do I really have to file married but separate for 2018 taxes?

If you were married on the last day of the year, two conditions need to be present to avoid a filing status that is married:

  • You and your spouse lived apart during the last six months of the year
  • You paid more than half of the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and your dependent child who lived with you for more than six months.
If those are both true, you can file as head of household. If you do not have a child, you cannot file as head of household, and married filing separately would be your best option.

For more resources, check out PICPA’s Money & Life Tips, Ask a CPA, or CPA Locator.

Answered by: Judith Herron, CPA, is with Markovitz Dugan & Associates in Pittsburgh, Pa

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