Child Custody Article


Federal and State Tax Exemptions for Dependent Children: Who gets to claim them?


 The Guidelines provide two options.  The first is an agreement between the parents.  Usually, this will happen when the parents come to an amicable settlement on all issues.  If the parents are already struggling to compromise on other issues, do not be surprised if the opposing party will not agree to your tax dependency proposal.  However, it is a possibility for an agreement to be reached.  If the agreement is reached, the parents can make any plan for the tax dependency exemption.  There are no requirements. 

 If the parties cannot agree, then the Guidelines provide a formula for determining who will claim and when they will claim.  The formula is based on each parent’s proportion to the parties combined adjusted gross income.  The formula also does not allow for a parent to claim more than four years in a row.  Lets look at some examples to understand how the formula works. 

 Example 1:  Dad makes about $60,000 annually.  Mom makes about $40,000 annually.  Their combined gross income is $100,000.  Dad’s share of the income is 60%, which equates to 3/5.  Mom’s share of the income is 40%, or 2/5.  Thus, Dad will get to claim the minor child every 3 out of 5 years, and Mom will get to claim the child every 2 out of 5 years. 

 Example 2:  Pretend that in the above example, the parties only have 1 child.  Say they have three children now.  The parents could continue the pattern as discussed above for all three children.  Now if Dad’s income was 33% of the total income or 1/3 and Mom’s income was 67% or 2/3 and they have three children, they could do a similar pattern, or Dad will always claim two children, and Mom will always claim one child.  There is some flexibility here. 

 There are a number of other examples that can come from this formula.  Just remember, it depends on the proportion of the parties combined adjusted gross income.  Another piece of advice is that the child support worksheets will give you a recommendation as well.  So if you are not good at doing math, just take a look at the child support calculator and see what that recommendation is. 

 Overall, the tax dependency exemption should not be complicated nor cause conflict between the parties.  This is why there are guidelines in place to settle those conflicts.  However, I do recommend that if you and the other parent are capable of coming to an agreement on your own terms, it will usually be better for you both, and you will feel better about the results. 

Contributing Attorney: Billie Tarascio litigates family law and domestic violence cases at Modern Law


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QUESTIONS

  • Who has sole custody of the children before custody is decided by the courts if the couple was never married?
  • my ex filed for a order of protection and was granted it against me for him and my kids the year is now up and i need to know how to get my babies back i tried to file to get the order dropped but could not get to the courthouse to do it now i havent seen my kids in 12 months please help
  • About two months ago a friend dropped her three kids off with me and I have not seen or heard from them since I wanted to know if I could or should try to get emergency custody or can her rights be severed? The kids want to stay with me they are 8,4,&3 two boys and a girl not sure what to doffrom here
  • How do i get information on how to file for sole custody on my two kids 6 years old and 3 years old. The father's are willing sign any paper works since they are not in there life.
  • I have a 2 year old son and his father has not contacted me to see him in 5 months. Currently he is incarcerated and has not paid any money for the purge amount for the passed 2 months. Am I able to file for child abandonment after 6 months if the father continues this behavior? If so, how do I go about filing for this?
  • If On a Decree of Divorce it states that the minor child Cannot be taken or relocated from the state and one of the parties does this can they held in violation of this court order ?
  • We just finished court for custody and my ex is trying to change things to fit her needs 2months later. the mediators didn't make things as clear as they should be in the parenting plan. Do I go and get an enforcement order, if so how?
  • If I'm on the birth certificate an the child lives with me has my lastname an she's 6 years old can another man say his the father an want dna test done
  • I am the father of a 5 year old and the mom wants me to keep my child. I do not know for how long. I want to make sure I go into this the right way. Are there any forms or legal documents I should be filing out? Please help!
  • Me and my ex wife have shared custody of our six year old daughter for the past 5 and half years. My ex wife now wants to move from chandler to queen creek, changing my daughters school to the queen creek area. I stated this was not fair because my drive would increase to 15 extra miles per trip, adding more drive time during my visitation days. Is this a fair assumption on my part? If we go to court what should I expect from a judge's descision?

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