Divorces are a turbulent time in the lives of everyone involved. Going through the divorce proceedings can cause much stress, unease, and uncertainty that when it comes time to start filing your taxes, some outstanding questions need to be answered. One such question revolves around who can claim your children on their respective taxes. Children can be claimed on your taxes up until they turn 19 years of age or 24 years of age if they go onto college. 

Instead of engaging in another argument that ends in confusion, allow Superior Tax Services to help you navigate this tax season and determine whether you or your former spouse should claim your child on the upcoming tax filing. 

It’s Not Quite That Easy

Divorces are rarely ever clean. There typically is some degree of upheaval, hurt feelings, and complicated financial situations. When it comes to who can claim your child as a dependent, a few factors come under consideration. 

Infographic detailing dependant rules for divorced parents.

Custodial VS Non-Custodial

The critical difference between a custodial parent and a non-custodial parent comes down to who spends more time with the child. Custodial parents are the ones where the child spends more than half of the year under their care. Non-custodial parents spend less time with the child over the course of the year. It’s common practice for the custodial parent to declare the child as a dependent on their taxes; however, non-custodial parents also have a path towards claiming them on their taxes. If the non-custodial parent contributes more than half of the child support, they can claim the child as a dependent. 

When filing your tax return independently from your former spouse, communication is vital for claiming dependents. If you both attempt to claim your child as a dependent, only the first tax filing received and processed by the IRS will be accepted. 

Tiebreaker Rules

Suppose during the divorce proceedings explicitly states the non-custodial parent can claim the child as a dependent, or there isn’t a written declaration from the custodial parent. In that case, tiebreaker rules become necessary to determine which parent can claim the child on their taxes. The tiebreaker rules include:

  • Which parent spends the most time with the child. 
  • If the child spends equal time with each parent, then the parent with the highest adjusted gross income has the advantage.
  • If only one parent pays taxes, then that parent gets the right to claim the child on theirs. 

Determining which parent can declare a child on their taxes after a separation or divorce can present challenges. For all of your tax preparation needs, contact Superior Tax Services today! We’ll help answer your questions and help you navigate tax season in your post-divorce life!