Claiming Child When Divorced

Who gets to claim dependents when you’re divorced?

Claiming a dependent child can provide or increase certain breaks, including Child or Dependent Tax Credits, the Earned Income Credit, and a more favorable filing status.  However, being divorced or legally separated can make it difficult to determine who can claim dependents.

What is the difference between custodial and noncustodial parents?

It’s common for the custodial parent – the one the child spends more than half the year with – to claim the dependent. But the noncustodial parent may claim the dependent if he or she provided half of the child’s support.

The noncustodial parent may also claim the dependent if a divorce or separation decree or a written declaration from the custodial parent says the noncustodial parent can claim the dependent.

What are the tiebreaker rules to determine which divorced spouse can claim the child as a dependent?

If no divorce or separation decree states that the noncustodial parent may claim the dependent or there is no written declaration from the custodial parent, tiebreaker rules are in effect.

  • The parent who the child spends the most time with may claim the dependent.
  • If the child spends equal time between both parents, then the parent with the highest adjusted gross income may claim the dependent.
  • If only one of the taxpayers is the child’s parent, that parent may claim the dependent.

What happens if divorced parents both claim a child as a dependent?

When both parents claim the child, only the first filed return will be accepted. Because of this, if there’s any doubt about who will claim the child, it’s best to communicate with the other parent before you file.

Can a custodial parent revoke their right to claim their child as a dependent?

If you have no divorce or separation decree, the custodial parent – the parent who has the child more nights out of the year – can sign Form 8332 or a written declaration to release their dependency claim. Either document may be only for one year or for several years.

However, the custodial parent has the right to revoke Form 8332 or their written declaration at any time and reclaim the child as a dependent.

Use Form 8332 on your tax return when you’re claiming a child that the other parent has released, or to revoke your prior release of the child as a dependent.

Note: Claiming a dependent child will no longer give you a personal exemption to reduce your taxable income.

Taxes for divorced parents is simple with Tax Office & Associates

Custody may be complicated, but at least filing your tax return is easy when you file with Tax Office & Associates.  We make claiming your dependents straightforward and simple, so don’t forget to contact us today to get your taxes done.