Skip to main content

I am going through a divorce. We have owed taxes the past two years? To be relieved of responsibility do I need an attorney?

Humble, TX |
Filed under: Debt Tax law

We owe a balance of $4600 due to my spouses 401K. How can I be removed from liability from this tax debt plus not be held responsible for what my spouse may owe this year. I filed for divorce on 9/2012 and due to some unrelated issues the divorce will most likely not be final until May 2013. We have not lived together since 9/2012. Also if I file married but separate can I claim our son and my spouse claim our house? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Attorney Answers 3


If you are talking about 2012 tax liabillity, all you have to do is to file as "married filing singly" so his tax & penalties from his pre-mature withdrawal from his 401k will not be your responsibility. Any tax returns you file jointly, the tax owed are joint & severally owed by you and him. Talk to your divorce attorney about the other issues. Good luck.

Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful


You are jointly and severally liable for any income tax liability associated with a joint return that you signed unless one of the very limited innoncent spouse exceptions applies, which does not appear to be the case here. To limit liability for 2012, file seperately.

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees


You have several different issues here. They may be answered through the divorce court or through the use of a tax professional.
If you file your returns married filing separately for tax year 2012, you shouldn't have to pay the taxes on his 401k.
In your divorce decree, you could have him pay the taxes or reimburse you if you pay.
Regarding the issue of claiming your child as dependent, typically that issue is also spelled out in your divorce decree. Some people alternate which spouse claims the exemptions. Some specify that one spouse takes the exemption. In any event, whoever is taking the exemption, earned income credit, etc, should have the other spouse execute a waiver so that both spouses won't take the same exemptions. This will be a tax nightmare in a few years if you both take the exemption.

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees

Bankruptcy and debt topics

Recommended articles about Bankruptcy and debt

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics