Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dependency Exemptions for Children in a Divorce Situation

Given that next month is the federal income tax returns filing deadline, it important to understand how the IRS treats the dependency exemptions for children in a divorced situation.  The default provision is for the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the year to be entitled to claim the dependency exemption for the minor child(ren).  The other parent is referred to as the non-custodial parent and generally cannot claim the exemption.
However, many divorce decrees allocate the dependency exemption pursuant to either the court’s findings or the parties’ agreement.  If, as part of your divorce, you enter into an agreement with your former spouse which allows the non-custodial parent to claim the minor child, it will be honored by the IRS.
Often times, divorced parents agree to alternate claiming the child so that one parent claims the child as a dependent in odd numbered years and the other in even numbered years. If the divorcing couple has more than one child, then one parent could claim some while the other parent claims the others.
It is important to refer to your divorce decree to avoid unwanted penalties and/or contempt proceedings by accidentally or inadvertently claiming a child when the dependency exemption has not been allocated to you.  
For further information regarding this topic or any other legal needs you may have, contact Joseph Stafford at 216-241-1074 or info@stafford-stafford.com

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