What is my filing status if my spouse and I are having marital problems?
(Revised November 2012)

Generally, if you are legally married at year-end, you are considered married for the entire tax year - even if you are going through a divorce. There are two exceptions to this rule:
  1. You are considered to be unmarried if a court order for separate maintenance was issued before year-end.
  2. If you meet all of the following requirements during the last six months of the calendar year, your filing status is head of household instead of married:
    • Your spouse didn't live with you at any time during the six-month period.
    • You maintained the household and one of your children lived with you.
    • You furnished over 50% of the cost of maintaining the household.
    • You file a separate tax return.

If you are considered married for tax purposes, your tax filing status will be married filing separately or filing jointly with your spouse (assuming that both of you agree to file together). Usually, a filing status of married filing separately costs more in taxes than the other filing statuses.

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