Child Custody and Taxes

How can I claim my son as a dependant if I share physical custody with my ex-wife? Both of us claim him for 6 months of the year?

Both of you cannot claim your son as a dependent on your tax returns. Generally, when there is joint physical custody, the parent who provides more than 50% of the child’s support can claim exemption for the child provided the other requirements for claiming exemptions are met. When the child stays with one parent but the other parent provides more than 50% of the child’s support, the latter can claim an exemption subject to the other requirements being met.

The custodial parent must provide the noncustodial parent with a completed Form 8332 which is the release of claim to exemption or a statement that is substantially similar. The noncustodial parent must submit it along with his or her tax returns. The custodial parent cannot claim child tax credit of he or she releases the exception.

Can a court decide which parent is entitled to the deduction? Will the court order override the IRS requirements?

Who can claim exemption is determined by federal law. For more information please read Publication 504.

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