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Make sure you're armed with all your financial information

When people go through a divorce, a lot of times they don't want to think about some of the details. However, it can be the details that are crucial and make the difference between peace of mind and an unfortunate misstep -- particularly when it comes to finances and taxes.

This comes into play the first time a divorced person files taxes. There are several decisions to be made, and without a plan of action worked out in advance, these decisions could slip through the cracks -- or someone could make them on April 15 without much advanced thought.

Here are some of the pitfalls recently divorced people should strive to avoid when working on their taxes:

• Make sure you know what your filing status is. On the surface this would seem pretty straightforward; however, for IRS purposes, you have to record if you are married on Dec. 31 of the tax year. So if you filed paperwork during the year but the divorce isn't finalized until Jan. 1 or later, then for tax purposes, you're considered to be married for the tax year.

• Are you a head of household? This refers to the specific IRS filing status. Parents who meet certain conditions regarding child care, housing costs and other factors may be able to use this filing status, which is more advantageous for separated parents who are not yet divorced.

As you might imagine, these details are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to thinking about post-divorce finances. While many people are tempted to do taxes (and these days, even get divorced) via the do-it-yourself method, many times the advice of a professional can be quite useful.

Source: Daily Finance, "Don't Let Divorce Destroy You at Tax Time," Dan Caplinger, July 23, 2012

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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