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


Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I am an unwed mother, who filed for restraining order against the father, a few months after the birth of our son. I understand that I am legally the sole custodian until we establish paternity. The father is in the birth certificate. If let’s say, I lost all contact and have no idea where the father is since we had a restraining order, how will I reach him if I decide one day to go to court and file abandonment and hope to obtain a sole custody written court order?
  • Please describe what the courts look at for "best Interest for the child". Do they take into account what the child(ren) want?
  • I am expecting a baby 8/1/11. The father & I are not married nor are we cohabiting, but we get along. What is the basic process for establishing custody and parenting time? Are we legally required to file something through the court? If so, how? I don't care how often he comes over to see us but his work schedule is unpredictable, so a pre-scheduled parenting time arrangment might not be feasible. How formal does a parenting agreement need to be? Are there flexible options available?
  • I am from Texas and had 2 children which reside in Texas with my ex. I want to know how can i get visitstion rights, where to file, and if I can get them during school breaks. The reason I ask is because i went back to Texas to visit them and my ex didn't let me see them and she won't even answer my phone calls.
  • In may 2018 I was granted full legal custody of my daughter . Father was ordered that he needed tons of psych eval.. counseling.. PTSD counseling ..parenting classes etc... before trying to modify anything it's been 7 months and to my knowledge none of this has been done ... I get constant text messages every single day from him which I never reply to but once in awhile to ask him to stop texting me can I file a restraining order for this reason
  • I'm paying childsupport for my 4 children in tucson,now there mother is just going to get up move on friday to lake havasu can se do that & if so how can i get join custody "kids dont want to move".
  • My 15 year old daughter wants to live with me in another county than her father. What is the process she can take to make her wishes known? Her father and I had a recent residency hearing, and the Judge ruled she stay with her father because he felt she was fine where she was, and my daughter was nervous to talk to the judge. However, after learning of the decision, she has told her father she wants to live with me, and she is telling me she wants to tell the judge how she feels, and wants to move with me.
  • If the father is out of work, behind on child support and does not have a vehicle, does this effect his rights to decisions and time with the child, of 4 years of age?
  • My son is 5 years old. I have sole custody. I read the self service paperwork and it says I have to notify the other parent or show "order terminating parental rights of the other parent." Is my divorce decree showing sole custody good enough? I know sole custody gives me the right to make decisions for my children even if my ex does not agree.
  • My daughters father has been absent for 5 years. He had a prior court order that allowed him visitation over 5 years ago. He completely stopped taking her or picking her up. Has not contacted her or I since then. She is now 8 and he now wants to see her again and wants shared legal etc. He is also now engaged and had a 2 year old. Is it likely he will just get visitation ? Or will I be able to get full custody ?

STORIES

LegalLEARN

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS