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How are taxes present in marriage?

Everyone with an income pays income tax, and married couples -- at least during the happier times of their marriages -- normally file jointly. A couple married at midnight Dec. 31 are married for that year, regardless of when they were initially married or how long they are married. A divorcing couple can file jointly for the last tax year they are married. Thus, if the divorce decree is entered on Dec. 31, the couple are considered unmarried for the entire year.

In fact, in planning a divorce, filing status during the last tax year during which a couple is married is, financially at least, often one of the most important decisions the spouses make, particularly if and when either or both have incomes.