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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Divorce, Claiming dependent tax exemption


I am in almost the exact situation currently as the person you advised below in 2007. The divorce is going through possible settlement now. I too will have physical placement but joint legal custody. I pay health insurance/father pays child support. Our toddler son resides with me more than the father. Based on your experience in this matter, what are my chances of being able to claim my son annually if we take this to court rather than settle? Is it worth going through or settling for alternating tax years. I make less than a teacher so every little counts. Furthermore, I already paid an additional retainer for court fees that I doubt I'll get back from my attorney. Thank you. Brenda
Expert: John L. Tidwell - 2/11/2007
I have joint legal custody of our daughter, and we're divorced.  I have physical placement.  I also provide medical coverage for our daughter thru my job.  He pays me child support.  Do I claim her?  He says we should alternate year by year...   Thanks!

Ms. Araya:

You are the only one who can claim the child as a dependent.  Since you have physical custody and she will live with you over half the year, she is your dependent according to IRS rules.  However, if the judge has issued an order that you and he will alternate ever other year then you must comply with that order.  Otherwise, he has no standing on the dependent issue.



As always I only answer tax matters I do not give legal advice.  Please always seek legal advice on all legal matters.  The subject of child custody and the method an manner of retaining child custody is legal advice.  On the tax question if a client comes to me I shall ask them if in their legal divorce decree has the judge decreed which parent shall have physical custody of the minor child or children and if the judge has decreed which parent shall for tax purposes consider the child or children as a dependent.  Usually if the issue is not stated in the divorce decree the person who has physical custody is the only one who can claim the child or children as a dependent.  AGAIN THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.  YOU MUST SEEK LEGAL ADVICE FROM AN ATTORNEY....


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John L. Tidwell


Unemployment tax law both state and federal; determination of employer employee relationship; the usual 20 commonlaw factors for making that determination; and what makes me a liable employer.


Over 20 years of field audit experience with a state agency



Degree in Accounting from Falls Business College

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