Divorced, Separated, and Common Law
Taxpayers who are divorced or legally separated at the end of the tax year cannot claim their (former) spouse as an exemption.
The rules for common-law marriages vary by state. A common-law marriage is recognized for federal tax purposes if it is recognized by the state where the taxpayers currently live or in the state where the common-law marriage began, and the marriage has not been legally dissolved, such as by death or divorce. Legal advice may be necessary to determine if a common-law marriage exists.
Filing a joint return for a common-law marriage applies to the federal return only. Check state or local law before completing a state return.