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Claiming dependents after a divorce

For many Kentucky residents, claiming dependents on their tax returns is not likely to present any issues. However, in situations in which multiple people are claiming the same dependents, such as when separated or divorced parents both claim their children, the process can become complicated, requiring the Internal Revenue Service to step in and closely examine the returns to make a decision regarding which of the claims should be accepted.

Parents who are able to claim their children as dependents may find that doing so may have a positive effect on their taxes. They may be able to file as the head of their household. They may also be able to claim certain tax credits, including the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Credit.

The IRS will have to apply a series of rules in cases in which multiple parties are claiming the same dependents and there is no separation, custody or divorce agreements on file that indicate who should be claiming the dependents. The rules consider multiple factors in each case, including the relationship between dependents and the taxpayers who are claiming them, in which household the dependents resided for the majority of the time during the tax year, the adjusted gross income of the taxpayers making the claims, and if it is needed, whether there are parental claims.

A divorce attorney may assist parents by making sure that their divorce settlement terms include provisions that allow them to claim their children on tax returns and claim any related tax credits as well. The attorney might advise of certain legal strategies to use to protect the interests and rights of divorcing parents as they work to resolve disputes regarding matters concerning their children, including those related to child custody and child support.

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