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My wife and I are going through a divorce, which will not be finalized before the end of 2018. We have three kids together and will be splitting custody. Both of us are trying to enroll in benefits at work for open enrollment for 2019. We are not sure how much we can each contribute to a flexible spending account. Can we each do the $2650? Or is that per household, which we technically still are?

  • In that case, I believe two dates that will be important to know are 1) when your "2019" benefits year actually begins and 2) when the two of you establish separate households. – chepner Nov 14 '18 at 15:50
  • 1) I believe it is 01/01/2019 for both of us (I know it is for my employer) 2) Have not set a date yet. We currently still live in the same house. That is unlikely to change before the end of this year. – Kevin Nov 14 '18 at 15:53
  • I think the only concern would be if you were still a single household after Jan 1. I don't know how the IRS prorates contributions (or if it matters; it might just be sufficient that you file separately for 2019.) But your status before Jan 1 won't really be relevant. – chepner Nov 14 '18 at 15:56
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The $2650 limit is per employee, so divorced or not, each of you could contribute some provided the IRS maximum is not exceeded, currently 5K. Source It really depends on your filling status for 2018, if you file married but separate, then you will each be limited to $2500.

Given that the two of you seem to be working together (smart and good for your children), I would each limit my contributions to 2500. Provided, of course, that the money is needed. That is quite a hefty spend for a typical family.

Bonus Info: If you have left over FSA money at the end of the year you can deduct mileage from your home to each of the doctors visits. If you happen to live far away from one of your providers, this could turn into a healthy sum. Also many places like Walgreens allow the purchase of things like sunscreen with FSA money.

  • Unfortunately, you're link is behind a paywall. As for the amount, $5K is probably more than we would need, but we've definitely used up the $2650 I've been putting in the last few years. – Kevin Nov 14 '18 at 14:35
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    It's not really up to Walgreens to decide if an expense is allowable, is it? They might accept an FSA-backed card for payment, but those are usually just regular debit cards, and it's still the responsibility of the user to ensure it is used for qualifying expenses. – chepner Nov 14 '18 at 15:53
  • @chepner of course it is not up to Walgreens, but some pharmacies do not have the POS system to support FSA charges as well as regular transactions. Also the employee has to be somewhat trained to know the difference. My local Walgreens gives a clear indication of the things that are and are not FSA approved. – Pete B. Nov 14 '18 at 16:10

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