My wife left me. Can I file taxes as a single?


Q. On Jan. 20, 2023, my wife abandoned me and left for parts unknown. A divorce is in the works and shouldn’t be too complicated: few assets, no kids involved. Can I file my taxes as single, or must I file married filing jointly? Obviously, I’m hoping I file as single.
— On my own

A. We’re sorry to hear about your marriage.

Unfortunately, your actual legal marital status is what matters here.

Because you are married, you cannot file a single tax return, said Jeralyn Lawrence, a family law attorney with Lawrence Law in Watchung.

“Your only options for filing are married filing separate, or a joint tax return,” Lawrence said. “As soon as you are divorced, he would then be eligible for that next tax year to file a single tax return.”

Good luck.

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This story was originally published in February 2024. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.