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Can I claim my Children as Dependents on my Taxes

Divorce touches on every aspect of life, including taxes. As a Newnan divorce attorney, it is not uncommon for clients to ask my advice on divorce related tax concerns. One of the most common questions I receive concerns taxes and child support, specifically: “Can I claim my children as dependents on my taxes if I pay child support?” Generally speaking, IRS only allows custodial parents to claim the dependency exemption for his or her qualifying children. For income tax purposes, the IRS defines the custodial parent as the parent with whom the children lived for the greater part of the year. So, even if you are paying child support for the children’s benefit, you will likely be unable to claim your children as dependants on your taxes if you are a non-custodial parent.

Although only the custodial parent is entitled to claim the dependency exemption in most cases, a non-custodial parent may be able to claim the exemption if the special rule for children of divorce or separated parents applies. This rule only applies if:

  • The parents are divorced, legally separated, or lived apart at all times during the last six months of the year
  • One or both parents provided more than half of the child’s total support of the year
  • One or both parents have custody of the child for more than half of the year

If all of the conditions are met, and the custodial parent signs a release, the non-custodial parent may claim the dependency exemption.

If you are a non-custodial parent seeking to claim the dependency exemption for your children, or you are currently in the divorce process, it is important to discuss the options and the specifics of your case with your attorney and a certified tax preparer. Contact us at Dreyer Law Group for more information on tax exemptions and all of your divorce questions.