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Who Gets to Claim your Child as a Dependent for Tax Purposes in your Divorce?

Taxes2

With the tax filing deadline rapidly approaching, it is important to have all your documents in order far ahead of April 15. It is also important to determine details like whether you will file singly or as a married couple – if you divorced during the past year, you can choose either.

If you are a recently-divorced parent, you may be wondering whether you can claim your child as a dependent on your tax return this year. If your divorce settlement states which parent may claim your child on future tax returns, you have your answer. But if it does not contain this provision, you will need to determine whether you, your former partner, or you both can claim your child as a dependent this year. This is an issue to discuss with your former partner as well as your accountant far in advance of tax season.

Does the Child Spend More than Half the Year with One Parent?

If your child spends more than half of his or her time with one parent, that parent is considered to be the custodial parent and thus, the parent who can claim the child as a dependent on his or her tax return.

If the child spends an equal amount of time with each parent, the parent with the higher adjusted gross income is typically the one permitted to claim the child as a dependent on his or her taxes.

Do you Pay Child Support?

If a noncustodial parent pays at least half of the child’s required support, he or she can claim the child as a dependent instead.

A parent can waive his or her right to claim a child as a dependent, giving that right to the other parent, with Form 8332. He or she can opt to waive the right for one year or longer and may rescind it at any time. Parents who use this form must include a copy of it with their tax filings, whether they use it to waive their right to claim the child as a dependent or if they now have the right to claim him or her because the other parent waived theirs.

Two Parents Cannot Both Claim the Child as a Dependent

You and your former partner cannot split the child tax credit or both claim your child as a dependent. If a noncustodial parent claims his or her child as a dependent, he or she generally may not claim Head of Household status or claim the child for dependent expenses. By claiming the child as a dependent, the noncustodial parent may claim the child tax credit.

Work with an Experienced Orlando Divorce Lawyer

If you are currently working through the divorce process, it is important to know what you can expect in the future with regard to claiming your child as a dependent and insuring him or her under your health benefits plan. To learn more about the rules of claiming dependent children at tax time after a divorce, speak with one of the experienced Orlando divorce lawyers at Goodblatt · Leo.  Contact our office today to set up your initial consultation with us.

Resources:

irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8332.pdf

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

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