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After Divorce, Who Can Claim the Exemption for the Children?

During tax season, many divorced parents wonder who gets to claim the children as dependents. Depending on your income level, one spouse may also be able to claim a Child Tax Credit. Both of these will lower your tax obligation.

The Internal Revenue Service has specific rules that apply to parents who are no longer together or are divorced.

General Rule

According to the IRS, the custodial parent generally has the right to claim the exemption. The custodial parent is the parent so named in the court documents or the parent who has primary physical custody, which is determined by who had the child for a greater number of nights in the year.

  • The following conditions must also be met in order for a child to be claimed as a dependent:
  • The parents must have lived apart for at least six months out of the tax year;
  • The parents provided for at least half of the child’s support; and
  • The child lived with either or both parents for at least six months.

What If the Parents Agree Otherwise?

Which parent can claim the exemption can be negotiated. In some cases, parents will agree to alternate years. In other cases, it may be more equitable for the non-custodial parent to take the exemption. In these cases, the non-custodial parent seeking the exemption must file IRS form 8332, which requires the custodial parent to sign the form.

What About Child Support Payments and Taxes?

Child support payments cannot be deducted by the paying parent, according to the IRS. Likewise, child support is not taxable income for the parent who receives the money.

If a party is ordered to pay spousal support (also known as alimony), those payments are usually deductible and the person receiving the payments must declare them as income.

Contact a Richmond, TX Family Law Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

Tax issues can come up anytime there are major life events, including divorce. Many family law attorneys foresee these issues and include them in a custody agreement or request that a judge determine them.

To discuss your custody and tax situation in detail with an attorney, call the Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C today at (832) 263-6770 or contact us online.

1 https://www.irs.gov/help-resources/tools-faqs/faqs-for-individuals/frequently-asked-tax-questions-answers/filing-requirements-status-dependents-exemptions/dependents-exemptions/dependents-exemptions-3

2 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/physical_custody