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The tax advantages of a New Year's Eve divorce

January traditionally brings a large spike in divorce filings. Couples who found that additional time spent together over the holidays didn't help their relationship -- and perhaps magnified their issues -- decide once and for all to call it quits. Some decide to start the new year by ending an unhappy or even toxic relationship flood New York family law attorneys' offices.

However, many people strategized the timing of their divorce so that it was final on Dec. 31, 2016. The primary reason for that is so that they can then file their 2017 taxes as "single" for the entire year. This may make their 2016 filings easier as well.

For people with a considerable amount of money, being able to file as a single person instead of a married one (whether you file jointly or separately) can mean a significant tax savings. It's probably a good idea to talk with a tax professional first to determine whether the tax benefit is worth dealing with that specific end-of-year deadline.

If you're considering using this strategy for the coming year, it's important to note that you need to begin the divorce process prior to the end of the year. Even if it's a simple divorce, you need to have at least filed the papers prior to Dec. 31.

Divorce is a largely-financial process, particularly for those with considerable assets to divide. It's essential to plan wisely and not rush the process. In addition to an experienced New York family law attorney, it's a good idea to have your own financial and tax advisors (not those you've shared with your spouse) on your team to protect your interests.

Source: Bravo TV, "Why Are So Many New Yorkers Rushing To Get a Divorce This Week? We Explain," Marianne Garvey, Dec. 29, 2016

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