Although a particular marriage may be coming to an end with divorce, this does not mean that the old adage about death and taxes does not still ring true. As the institution of marriage has often drawn comparisons to an economic union between two people, the truth is that the two spouses are legally still responsible for any and all tax liabilities incurred.
To avoid any potential pitfalls, it is recommended that you make a rough estimate of your Federal and state taxes coming due. This would be important even if you cannot obtain the actual, exact figures. It is suggested that two sets of estimates be prepared: one set for separate filing status and one set for joint filing status. The reason for the estimates are so that you will be able to make the decision that will prove most advantageous with respect to your impeding filing status. In addition, you should discuss this decision not only with your attorney or tax advisor, but also your spouse as well. If at all possible, try to reach an agreement with your spouse concerning this issue and document the result in writing.
Preparing Your Tax Estimates
The first step in preparing an estimate would be to gather all the relevant information together. Oftentimes, one spouse manages the bookkeeping for the family. If your spouse traditionally took care of that business and is uncooperative about sharing the information, you may have to employ the assistance of an attorney or even possibly the court. Before enacting these types of measures, however, you may wish to point out that the legal fees of both you and your spouse will rise dramatically should these avenues become necessary.