Claiming the Child Tax Credit Post-Divorce

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Divorce and Claiming the Child Tax Credit

If you are going through a divorce, chances are that you have a lot going on and you may not be paying much attention to your upcoming taxes. It must be recognized, however, that – with divorce – come many changes, including changes in your taxes. Only one of you can claim your children's tax credit once you and your ex begin filing your taxes separately, and the attendant tax benefits can be significant. If you are divorcing, talk to an experienced Central Texas family law attorney about how your taxes will be affected.

Which One of Us Gets to Claim the Kids?

The custodial parent is entitled to the tax benefits (along with other benefits) that come with claiming your children as tax deductions. If your children live with you the majority of the time and you have primary custody, you are probably the custodial parent. If, on the other hand, you and your ex share custody jointly, then neither of you is likely to have primary custody, and the issue of claiming the kids as tax credits becomes more ambiguous. Nevertheless, only one of you can claim the kids on your taxes each year, and because the attendant savings can be meaningful, it's essential that you address this issue during your divorce.

The Tax Specifics

Divorce is difficult, and taxes are complicated. When the two are combined, it can feel a bit overwhelming. The IRS offers guidelines when it comes to determining who can claim the children as tax credits after a divorce:

  • Generally, child-related tax benefits – including the child tax credit, the dependent care credit, the exclusion for dependent care benefits, the head of household filing status, and the earned income tax credit – must all go to the custodial parent.

  • If the custodial parent releases it, the noncustodial parent can claim the children on his or her taxes, if the noncustodial parent also meets the requirements for the child tax credit.

For these exemptions, however, certain criteria must be met:

  1. The parents must be legally separated or divorced.

  2. The parents must have lived apart at all times during the final six months of the tax year.

  3. The parents must have provided the children with over half of their support for the tax year.

  4. The children must have been in one or both parents’ custody for more than half of the tax year.

  5. The custodial parent must sign the necessary form – stating that he or she will not claim the children on his or her taxes for the year – and the noncustodial parent must attach this form to his or her tax return.

It’s a lot, and it’s complicated. If you are facing a divorce, consult with a Central Texas family law attorney about the pertinent tax implications.

If You’re Going Through a Divorce, You Need an Experienced Central Texas Family Law Attorney

Divorce often raised many complicated issues, and the tax advantages of claiming your children's associated tax credits are too significant to leave to chance. Consult with the dedicated legal professionals at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Central Texas, today. Our experienced family law attorneys are here to help, so please contact or call us at (254) 220-4225 today.


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