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Can you and your ex claim your child as a dependent?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2022 | Child Custody |

]The government doesn’t allow parents who file their taxes separately to both claim the dependency exemption for children. Only one parent can claim their child as a dependent on their tax return. In Nebraska, parents must be current on child support to take this tax deduction as well.

Who gets to claim?

If your child’s other parent is no longer in a relationship with you, then the decision on who gets to claim the tax deduction usually comes down to your divorce settlement, personal agreement or a judge’s order. You could take turns claiming your child as a dependent. The federal government usually assumes that the custodial parent will take the deduction when the divorce decree doesn’t specify. This is because childcare expenses are more expensive for the parent who has majority child custody.

Releasing the right to claim

Parents could choose to formally release their right to claim the tax deduction if they agree that the other parent can take it. You’ll need to fill out IRS Form 8332 to do this.

More than one child

If you have more than one child together, then you could also allow your ex to claim one as their dependent while you make the claim for your other child. You can divide the tax exemption among three children too. One idea is to alternate for the third. If there is a great difference in your incomes, then the lower-earning spouse could claim for two and the other could claim for one.

You and the other parent of your child must both know who is going to claim the child tax credit on your taxes. The IRS will otherwise decline your tax return if you both attempt to take the deduction. You will usually discuss this issue before finalizing the divorce.