MN Divorce and Income Tax Returns

When you are getting divorced, it is important to pay attention to income tax returns.  Often, it makes sense financially for a divorcing couple to file a joint income tax return for the preceding year.  Before you sign a joint return, you need to verify that your spouse has accurately reported his or her income.  If you sign a joint return and the IRS determines that because of something your spouse did, your tax should have been higher, you could be liable for payment of the additional tax.

You also need to pay attention to which spouse gets to claim the income tax dependency exemption for any minor children.  The default position of the Internal Revenue Service is that the parent who has the children in his or her care the majority of the time (i.e., 6 months plus one day) is the person who is entitled to claim the exemptions.

However, in Minnesota, divorce courts can modify this, and they can award the income tax dependency exemptions to one parent or the other, depending upon the facts of the case.  Generally, the exemptions are allocated equally. If there is only one child, then the right to claim the exemption is alternated between the parents on an annual basis.

If you have questions about this or any other divorce issue, call Minnetonka, MN, divorce attorney Daniel Fiskum at (952) 270-7700 to schedule a free divorce case analysis.

Documents Needed for MN Divorce

If you are considering getting divorced, it is a good idea to assemble the documents you may need to refer to in the future and put them somewhere for safe keeping.  These documents can include state and federal income tax returns, monthly checking account statements, check book registers, house titles, deeds and abstracts, documentation from the sale or purchase of a home, documentation from the purchase of an automobile, monthly credit card statements, and recent paycheck stubs.

These are just a few of the primary documents that you should set aside.  Fiskum Law Office has developed a comprehensive list of necessary divorce documents and complimentary copies are available upon request.  Just send an e-mail request through this website.

Keep in mind that you should not open your spouse’s mail and you should not open his or her e-mail or other password-protected Internet accounts.

If you can assemble these documents before starting the divorce, you will save time and money.  During the divorce p0roceeding, the parties and attorneys can engage in a process called “discovery.”  Essentially, an attorney can formally demand that an opposing party produce copies of any documents that might lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.  All of the documents described above are relevant to a divorce proceeding and would be have to be produced.

The problem with discovery is that it is expensive.  It often takes hours or days to respond to formal discovery requests.  Also, it is difficult to obtain a document if it has already been destroyed.  You can get copies of some documents (summaries of tax returns, copies of bank statements, etc.) but some documents are not easy to get, once they have been destroyed.  This includes documents like check book ledgers, documents relating to the purchase and sale of a home, etc.  Also, it is very difficult to subpoena documents that are kept out of the State of Minnesota.

If you have any questions, feel free to call me – Dan Fiskum – at (952) 270-7700.  I cannot give specific legal advice over the telephone, but I am happy to set up a free consultation to discuss your divorce case.

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