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Claiming Children on Taxes During and Following a Divorce

When parents of a child divorce or separate, disputes may arise about which parent is entitled to claim the child as a dependency exemption on his or her federal income tax returns. The general rule for federal income taxes purposes, pursuant to 26 U.S.C.A § 152(e), is that the custodial parent, or the parent who provides more than 50% of the child’s financial support in a particular tax year is entitled to claim the child as a dependency exemption on his or her federal income tax return. As a result, a Georgia divorce court may not order a custodial parent to allow the noncustodial parent the dependency exemption by executing the waiver required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that would enable the noncustodial parent to do so.

The only circumstance by which a noncustodial parent can claim the child for federal income tax purposes is if the parties reach an agreement to allow it. Therefore, this issue often becomes a bargaining chip when parties are negotiating a divorce, and it is commonplace for the custodial parent to agree to allow the noncustodial parent to claim the child as an exemption in certain tax years. For instance, parents may reach a divorce settlement that provides for the noncustodial parent to claim the child in alternating tax years, such as in every odd-numbered tax year, until the child reaches the age of emancipation.

Divorce-related issues such as custody and tax exemption matters can be very complex. If you are facing a divorce and these types of issues, you should consult with an Atlanta divorce attorney who has the experience and knowledge to properly advise you.

Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.

Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.