Legal fees and court costs of getting a divorce are not deductible. Nondeductible costs include expenses paid in arranging child custody and support. Expenses paid in arriving at a financial settlement and retaining income-producing property are also considered nondeductible.
Legal fees paid specifically for property settlement may be added to the property's basis. Deductible (legal or accounting) costs: Fees paid for tax advice relating to a divorce.
Whatever your marital status was on December 31st of the tax year in question, the IRS considers your status to have been that for the entire tax year, i.e., your divorce is recorded at the courthouse in January 2015, for 2014 you are considered married.
There is a special tax rule known as the "abandoned spouse rule", whereby a separated parent with a child or children, can use the Head of Household filing status rather than the Married Filing Separate status. This option is available only if the parties did not cohabitate any part of the last six months of the tax year.
The separated parent that does not have possession or custody of the child or children must file Married Filing Separate.
Couples who file jointly are each individually and jointly responsible for any tax, interest, or penalty applicable to the return. This is true even if the divorce decree states that one spouse is responsible for previously filed joint returns. Back taxes owed due to an audit are the responsibility of each spouse.