Divorce and Taxes: How Exemptions are Determined in Child Custody

The deadline for filing your federal income taxes is almost upon us and many newly divorced couples with children should take into consideration income tax dependency exemption laws. Determining tax dependency was easy in the past when child custody was overwhelmingly granted to mothers while fathers received visitation rights or weekend custody. Joint custody, however, has caused some confusion as to who is allowed to claim the child or children on tax forms.

Child Custody Laws Change, Tax Laws Do Not

Nowadays, custodial arrangements can vary widely from one divorce to another. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) knows that in some child custody arrangements, general rules do not apply due to specific circumstances. For example, the amount of time children spend with both parents might not always even out, which is why child custody laws have become more flexible in recent years. Child tax exemption laws remain unchanged and only one parent may claim a child as a dependent in any single year. Who that parent will be depends on the agreement made by divorcing parents.

Claiming the Dependency Exemption

If a divorced couple’s children have mostly lived with either parent during a given year, that parent is considered the custodial party and is entitled to claim the dependency exemption. The custodial parent is allowed to claim any minor children on their federal income tax return to receive the exemption as stipulated by the Internal Revenue Code. The noncustodial parent, or other parent, cannot claim the exemption. However, the IRS will honor an agreement between spouses, allowing the parent to make that claim.

Resolving Your Issues

A divorce can sometimes be a burden for former spouses. Hectic schedules make it difficult in determining workable parenting plans, allowing a mother and father to spend the time needed with their children. A divorce shouldn’t be difficult to deal with, which is why seeking legal guidance from Barrera, Sanchez & Associates is essential. We can make your divorce less hectic than it needs to be. When spouses are debating about who gets what, their children’s care and well-being should be held up above all else.

We Can Help

Our firm in McAllen understands the overwhelming implications a divorce can have on a family. A child’s fears about what will become of them after their parents’ divorce are understandable and expected. Know that we put your best interests forward when dealing with any sort of child custody factors. Taxes and other financial burdens should be the last thing on your mind. Let us take care of them.

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