Thursday, October 16, 2008

Child Custody and Tax Exemptions

Dear Famulao & Associates

When I first got divorced back in 2001, my husband and I had a 50-50 custody arrangement of our young son. As part of the terms of the divorce judgment, we had a week-on, week-off arrangement, and we were each given our son as a tax deduction every other year. For the past two years, my ex-husband has not exercised the joint custody order, and has only seen our son every other weekend. My ex has not paid me any child support in over three years, either. Even though the divorce judgment says that I can only claim my son on my taxes every other year, is there any way I can claim my son in all years since I am the only one supporting him?

L.M. in Hemet

Dear L.M.

The Internal Revenue Service tax code allows a parent to claim a child as a tax exemption if the parent provides more than 50% of that child's support, or the child lives with the parent more than 50% of the time. It sounds like you provide both for your child. The IRS will allow you to claim your son as a dependent on your income tax returns even though there is a conflict with the judgment. However, to avoid any confusion, you should go back to court and get an order allowing you to claim your son on your taxes in all years.

Famularo & Associates
Attorneys in Temecula

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