Legally married same-sex married couples sometimes divorce, and this can exact a number of complications onto your tax preparation. For starters, even if you are living apart, you will still be considered married on the last day of the year if there isn't a legal decree of divorce or separate maintenance in place.
When it comes to filing a federal tax return, however, it pays to look at all your options. First, you could opt to file as married filing jointly, just as you normally would. For the most part, this allows you to pay fewer taxes and claim the most credits and deductions. Sometimes, however, even the thought of saving money isn't enough to salvage a contentious disentanglement.
If the divorce is becoming acrimonious, it may make sense to file federal taxes as married filing separately. Although this will probably mean you pay more taxes in the end, you'll also be offered some protections from your spouse (and any potential wrongdoing on that person's tax return) if you file separately. Plus, you'll now be able to deduct alimony payments [source: Wicker].
If you are legally separated, you may choose married filing separately or, if you have at least one dependent, you may elect to use a head of household filing status [source: Cussen].