Who Can Claim The Child As An Exemption After Separation Or Divorce?

One possible point of contention between you and your child's other parent is who gets to claim the child on future income tax returns. Even if you are the non-custodial parent, there is a possibility that you legally have the right to claim your child and receive the tax credits associated with doing so. 

Who Normally Claims the Child?

The parent who provides at least 50 percent of the financial support for a child is usually one that has the right to claim the child at the end of the tax year. The living situation of both parents can make determining who has the right to carry the child a complex problem.  

If you and the other parent are no longer together, only one of you can claim the child. Both of you cannot claim the child because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) checks all Social Security numbers to ensure they have not been used on other income tax returns. 

What Happens When the Parents Have Split?

If you and the other parent have split, there are special rules that apply to your tax situation.There is still a chance that you can claim your child if you are not the custodial parent.

In your separation agreement or divorce decree, your lawyer could ask that the other parent give up his or her right to claim the child. This could be a permanent arrangement that settles the issues once and for all.

If the other parent is not willing to sign away the right to the exemption permanently, both of you can agree to take it year by year. The custodial parent can complete a Form 8332 from the IRS. The form is a declaration that states he or she is giving up the right to claim the child for that tax year. 

It is important that you and the other parent understand that by signing the form, the custodial parent is giving up his or her rights to child-related credits such as earned income credit. It is your responsibility as the non-custodial parent who is claiming the child to remember to include the form with your tax return each year you file for with your child.

The best way to protect yourself from future confusion about who claims the child is to work out an arrangement when the custodial agreement is initially arranged. Talk to a child support lawyer (such as one from http://www.madisonlf.com) about other considerations you need to make.