Divorce and Taxes: What is Deductible in a California Divorce?

CA’s Top Family Law Attorneys Explain Divorce and Taxes: What is Deductible in a California Divorce


Even though tax season is technically behind us, it is never too soon to start planning for your financial well-being, particularly if you are considering filing for divorce in California. Major tax issues can arise when a couple divorces or files for legal separation and the date of separation can play an important role in whether you file as single or married.  With the change in your marital status often comes a number of potential other challenges that can alter liabilities, and thus have to be taken into account by your family lawyer when structuring your marital settlement agreement.

What expenses are deductible in a California divorce?


Divorce can be a costly ordeal, both financially and emotionally. Fortunately, some of these financial expenses are deductible. Others are not, and knowing the difference is extremely important. For example, attorneys’ fees incurred in connection with a divorce are generally personal expenses, even though the divorce may have significant business implications.  Consult with a tax professional to determine if any of your professional fees are deductible or whether they can be considered a capital expense. The law relating to miscellaneous itemized deductions may change in 2026.


Can I still claim my kids as my dependents?


Generally, a parent can claim children as dependents if that parent has been designated as the custodian by court order. If you have joint custody, the custodial parent is considered to be the parent who has physical custody of the child for most of the year. Things can get tricky if you share custody 50-50, and a divorce lawyer experienced in tax issues can walk you through the process.

Can I write off the alimony I pay my ex?


No, unless your court order to pay alimony was made before January 1, 2019. Orders made before that date are still tax deductible, and modifications of those alimony orders may be tax deductible. Spouses receiving alimony will no longer be required to pay on alimony ordered after January 1, 2019.

As you can see, there are several issues to take into account when it comes to taxes and your divorce. For more guidance on the process, contact the family law experts at Walzer Melcher Yoda LLP, which was ranked one of the best family law firms in California.