As tax season rolls around again, how to handle child support payments can be a confusing matter. One of the main questions that parents of a child under a custody order have is who can claim the child for a tax exemption. As with most other family law issues, there is not one answer that applies to every situation.
Your custody or child support order should have specific instructions as to which parent is allowed to claim the child for tax purposes. In cases where there is more than one child involved, the courts sometimes allow each parent to claim a child. It’s very important that you know what your court order specifies as you can have issues with your taxes if either you or your ex claims the wrong child or claims a child incorrectly.
In the majority of cases involving sole custody, the custodial parent is the one who claims that child on their taxes. This is because the courts generally assume the custodial parent is the one providing more than half of the financial support of the child. However, in cases where the noncustodial parent is paying child support, it may be possible for that parent to be given one of the tax exemptions.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you are supposed to claim your child on your taxes, going over your current court order with a family law attorney can help you better understand your situation. If your situation has changed since the original court order, it may also be possible to petition the courts for a modification pertaining to the tax exemption section of the order.
Source: FindLaw, “Child Support and Taxes Q&A,” accessed Jan. 06, 2016