Who Gets to Claim the Children on Their Taxes After Divorce?
Posted By Law Offices of Robert Stepniak
Parents are allowed to claim their children as dependents, but this becomes trickier after divorce.
It is tax time once again, and as people start collecting their documents and receipts, they also start thinking about other deductions they can make. In Florida, as throughout the rest of the country, parents can claim their children as dependents on their taxes. When both parents live together and file joint tax returns, this is a fairly simple situation. However, when the two parents live separately, it becomes much more complicated.
IRS Rules on Claiming Dependents
The IRS does allow parents to claim their children as dependents on their tax returns and make certain deductions for them. When parents are divorced, though, only one parent can claim the children as dependents. The IRS is serious about this rule and regularly checks the parents’ Social Security numbers to ensure that both parents are not using the exemption in the same year.
Typically, the parent who provides the most financial support to the child throughout the year will claim the child as a dependent. However, parents can waive this right through IRS Form 8332. The two parents can also come to an agreement on their own about which parent will claim the children as dependents. The divorce decree the courts issues once the divorce is finalized may also state which parent can claim children as dependents.
When the Courts Decide
When parents cannot come to an agreement on their own, the court will determine which parent can claim children as dependents. There are typically three scenarios that will arise in court.
- The first is when the court has issued a child custody In these situations, the parent who has primary custody of the child is entitled to claim the dependent exemption. A judge will likely determine this unless the parent has waived his or her right to the exemption.
- In some situations, the parents may have lived together with the child for at least half the year, or their divorce is not yet finalized and so, there is no child custody order yet. In these cases, a judge will determine which parent provides more than 50% of the financial support for the child and allow that parent to claim the exemption.
- The most complicated situation is when the parents share custody and each provides equal financial support for the children. These cases are largely left up to the judge’s discretion. A judge will consider a number of factors including what is in the child’s best interests, along with the IRS Publication 501
Our Skilled Florida Family Lawyer can Help with All Aspects of Your Divorce
Your finances, and even your taxes, will change drastically after a divorce. It is a lot to handle for most people, but our Daytona Beach family lawyer can help. At The Law Offices of Robert Stepniak, our attorney can help you protect your finances and plan for the future during this challenging time. Call us today at 386-253-4750 to schedule a consultation with Attorney Robert Stepniak.