Tax season is rapidly approaching. If you’re newly divorced with minor children, or have recently adjusted your custody agreement, you might be wondering how to handle the dependent exemption on your taxes. Which parent gets to claim them? Generally, only one person gets to claim the children as dependents, even if you share custody and pay child support, but there are always exceptions. Read on to find out the basic rules—and if you need assistance from a family law attorney in Miami, FL, call the Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler.
Does my child qualify as a dependent?
The most important question you need to ask is whether your child qualifies as a dependent. Federal law provides that the child must be your biological child or stepchild. They can be under the age of 19, but you can also claim them if they’re 24 or under and a student, or permanently disabled. They need to reside with you for half the year or more, and must not have provided more than half of their own support for the year. Finally, they can’t file a joint return—so if your child otherwise meets the qualifications but is married, that will count them out.
Who can claim the child tax credit?
If you have a minor child, whichever parent provides the most support during the year is the one who can claim them on their taxes. However, there are always exceptions.
First, you can make an agreement during the divorce to split the exemption, such as claiming it during alternating years. This requires you to file a separate document with the IRS (form 8332), which is signed by the custodial parent and accompanied by the non-custodial parent’s tax return. This does not affect child support payments, which are non-deductible.
Second, you can negotiate during the divorce. If the non-custodial parent has to travel long distances to see their child, the court might grant them the exemption to offset travel costs, like the cost of plane tickets—basically, their goal in this situation is facilitating the time-sharing schedule between parents and child.
Things get murky when parents share 50/50 custody and child support. If the parents are able to file a joint tax return, they can share the credit. However, if they cannot file a joint return and they share equal custody and child support payments, the deduction goes to the parent with the higher adjusted gross income.
Keep in mind that this is a general overview, and it is important that you speak with a lawyer before filing your taxes or making any changes to your custody agreement.
Family law attorney in Miami, FL
The Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler provide skilled, zealous representation for our clients in a variety of family law areas. If you need the advice of a family law attorney in Miami, FL, we can help. Our firm has been serving the Miami area since 1997, and we have over 60 years of combined legal experience. Call us today to schedule a consultation.
Categorized in: Child Custody