What happens to a federal and state taxes owed by a couple after a divorce?

We owe a large amount. I’m just wondering if it’s split or how it works.

Asked on June 13, 2012 under Family Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is divided however the final order divides it.  If I were you, I would retain a family law attorney and a tax attorney concurrently.  Usually divorcing couples split assets and debts equally.  You may be benefited by giving your spouse debts other than, but equal to the tax debt and taking on the tax debt yourself.  That way you can get a tax attorney and negotiate a settlement with the IRS, therby getting the better end of the deal.

If you don't make a different marital settlement, a judge would most likely apportion the IRS debt equally and the IRS would enforce the debt according to the court order. 

Best of luck. 

If you are in Ventura County I would love to represent you.  Feel free to contact me.

Brad Micklin / Brad M. Micklin, Esq.

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Assets and debts are divided under a theory called equitable distribution. Although this does not mean equal distribution, it is often if not most of the time distributed equally. However, with taxes there could be an issue of who is responsible for the underreporting.

It is certainly a marital debt that will be divided. It is just difficult without knowing the cause of the income tax problem to answer the question with specific details.


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