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Claiming Children on Taxes After Divorce

Ocean Township divorce lawyers help clients with child custody and tax issues.Divorce can create a lot of confusion and can prove even more complicated for those with children. From alimony to child support, there are many financial aspects of divorce to figure out. One such issue that may be overlooked among all the expenses is who should claim the child on their taxes. Per federal regulation, only one person can claim a child as a tax dependent. With all the benefits that come from claiming dependents on your taxes, this can be a point of contention for many divorced couples.

Claim Dependents Under Joint Custody

For parents who have primary custody of their children, those who are identified as the custodial parent are legally entitled to claim their child as a dependent, as long as the child passes certain qualifying tests.

However, for many couples who share joint custody of their children, they do not have anything in place dictating who is to claim the child on taxes. One solution that couples often find is alternating years for claiming the minor. This means that each parent will receive the tax benefits every other year.

Another oft-established solution is to split the number of children between the two parents, so long as there are at least two children. You are legally allowed to split the dependents between you and your former spouse. It often makes the most sense to select the same child or children every year, so that tax credits and deductions remain easy to figure out.

IRS Tests

Even after parents establish who is to claim the children on taxes, the Internal Revenue Service mandates that you and your child pass certain tests to ensure that you qualify, which include:

  • Age: The child must have been under 19 years old and younger than you, or was under 24 years old, a full-time student, and younger than you in 2018. If the child was permanently disabled, regardless of age, you can claim that child.
  • Family Income: Child tax credits are reduced by $50 for each $1,000 of income above the designated threshold for modified adjusted gross income.
  • Relationship: The dependent is your son, daughter, foster child, descendant, or extended descendant
  • Residency: The child lived with you for more than 50 percent of the year.
  • Support: The child did not provide more than 50 percent of his or her own support over the year.

State divorce courts require that custodial parents give the dependency exemption to the non-custodial parent, though ultimately, it is a matter of federal law. To give up the exemption, the custodial parent is required to sign a release of exemption claim and attach it to the tax return. However, once the form is filed, the custodial client can no longer claim the child on his or her taxes.

Ocean Township Divorce Lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. Help Clients with Child Custody Issues

If you or a loved one is dealing with divorce, it is extremely important that you understand your rights and receive what you are entitled to, especially when there are children involved. The Ocean Township divorce lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. help those who are struggling with divorce. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 732-493-9400 today.

Centrally located in Eatontown, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout the state, including the areas of Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Ocean Township, Fair Haven, Eatontown, Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Shrewsbury, Middletown Township, Wall Township, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake.

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