In order to file joint tax returns for federal income tax purposes, it does not matter if the parties were married for a majority of the year. What is determinative, in regard to the parties qualifying to file joint tax returns for a calendar year, is that they were still married on the last day of the calendar year, that being December 31. If they were married on December 31, the parties can file jointly for federal income tax purposes. Given all facts and circumstances, that may be a reason for delaying the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage until some time in January of the subsequent year since by filing jointly in the proceeding year, there could be additional tax savings that the parties could share as opposed to not being married on December 31 in which case they would not be able to file jointly for that year.
Unless the parties were married on December 31, they cannot file joint tax returns.
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Your marital status as of Dec 31 is what controls. If you were divorced at all in 2013, including on Dec 31, 2013, you need to file as single or head of household. If you were married through all of 2013, you need to file married or married separately.
Any answers or information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a legal opinion, legal advice or a complete discussion of the legal issues. This is not intended to create a attorney-client relationship. Each individual's situation is different and you should seek independent legal advice from an attorney familiar with the laws of your state for specific information.
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