Parenting After Divorce: Claiming Your Kids on Tax Returns
Child custody matters and financial issues are usually the two most prominent concerns in a divorce. During the course of a Virginia divorce, many parents may have questions about how their new child custody arrangements might affect their taxes. One frequent question is which parent will claim the child as a dependent on their taxes each year.
This can sometimes be a point of contention between the parents prior to and during the divorce. Both parents may want to claim the deduction to get some extra money in their pockets because they believe they're both spending money toward the child's upkeep. However, there are specific federal guidelines that dictate which parent can claim the child tax deduction after a divorce.
According to the law, the custodial parent gets to claim the dependent exemption for the child. The custodial parent is also the only one entitled to claiming head of household status and the earned income tax credit. Usually, the custodial parent is named in the divorce decree, or in the parents' separation agreement.
Some parents have some form of shared custody and may not be sure which one would be eligible for the exemption. As a rule, the exemption goes to the parent who the child lives with for the greater part of the year.
Exceptions to the Rule
The only exception to the rule of the custodial parent being able to claim the child as a dependent is if the parent grants the non-custodial parent permission. The custodial parent will have to fill out Form 8332 to make this exception.
When to Figure Out Who Will Claim a Child
The best time to determine who will be able to claim your child as a dependent on taxes is during divorce mediation. You can choose to discuss it either when you decide on other financial matters or as part of the child custody arrangements made with your soon-to-be-ex spouse.
Divorces and Taxes: Get the Facts
Claiming your child on your tax return isn’t the only tax situation you should consider during your divorce mediation. Since every taxpayer’s situation differs, it’s important to discuss your individual tax concerns with your tax preparer. He will be able to give you more facts on what you should discuss with your spouse concerning how to file for taxes next year.
Contacting a Virginia Divorce Attorney
The decision to file for divorce usually comes at the end of a long and painful journey. In addition to the emotional turmoil involved, there’s also a lot of fear and uncertainty about what the future holds. Concerns about children, mortgages, and even just paying the bills or buying groceries can easily become overwhelming.
A Virginia divorce attorney at Hofheimer Family Law Firm can examine the specifics of your case to help you decide how much support to ask for, what child custody arrangement will work best for you and your children, and how to fairly divide your marital assets. Request a free copy of our divorce book for women in Virginia or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.