The holiday season brings a whole lot of stress with it. If you and your spouse are already struggling to make your marriage work, the planning for presents, parties, and family get-togethers may lead you — and many others like you — to put off dealing with any marital struggles until the new year.

But should you?

Let's put aside the emotional aspect of putting on a brave face for kids, friends, and family at holiday gatherings. Instead, this post will focus on the financial.

Divorce and Your Taxes

If you and your spouse decide to get it over with now, and you are divorced by midnight of Dec. 31, you will each file separate tax returns. If you are still married on or after Jan. 1, however, you can choose whether to file jointly or separately.

In most scenarios, continuing to file jointly will save you both a lot of money. But that does not mean that you will have to continue to live under the same roof until you file your taxes.

However, filing jointly also means that you are on the hook for any tax liabilities your soon-to-be ex owes. If you suspect that your spouse may not be planning to write a check to Uncle Sam, the IRS could seek that money from you.

Any custody decisions will also affect your tax filings, as only the custodial parent will be able to claim the child tax credit.

Get the Right Advice

The most important thing, just like with any other aspect of your divorce, is to get the right advice and not make any rash decisions. Your divorce attorney should be able to recommend you to a qualified tax adviser.

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