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1 Apr. 2014

Divorce And Taxes: Minor Children Are A Key Consideration At Tax Time

Posted By The Buncher Law Corporation

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Do you and your ex-spouse share custody of minor children? The type of custodial arrangement you have dictates your dependency exemptions.

Let me give you an example: When parties share custody of their children, it can make sense to allocate exemptions equally so that each parent claims one child on their separate return. If only one minor child is involved, the parties can agree to alternate their exemption claim from year-to-year.

Your Divorce Judgment can spell out these important details so that you and your spouse have some peace on mind on the subject.

In a contested (i.e., litigated), case the court typically allocates exemptions to the "primary" custodial parent. This is generally the parent who has care and custody of the children more than 50% percent of the time. The court is not as flexible in allocating exemptions as you and your spouse can be in negotiating agreement of a fair resolution.

It is never a good idea to simply claim a minor child as a dependency exemption on a tax return without securing agreement in advance of filing from your ex-spouse. An audit is almost guaranteed if both you and your ex-spouse file separate returns claiming the same child as an exemption.

If your Divorce Judgment does not address this point, consider modifying your judgment to allocate exemptions appropriately, or to at least clarify which parent should claim the child(ren).

Keep in mind that allocating dependency exemptions can cause a large "swing" in support figures - so it is well worth your time to consult an experienced attorney for advice.

Categories: Divorce, Child Custody, Taxes
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