Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Taxes and Child Custody: Do I Follow Court Order or IRS Tax Code to Claim Child Exemption on Taxes?

I have a court order saying that I have the right to claim the tax deduction on my child even though I'm the non-custodial parent, but the IRS tax laws state that the person that the child stays with more than half the year (in my case, the custodial parent) receives the tax deduction.  Which rule do I follow?

Sometimes, when it comes to divorce or custody cases, there are sometimes situations in which the court will rule certain circumstances in regards to claiming a child on one's taxes.  For example, if you were going through a divorce case, you may have mediated with your ex-wife and worked out an agreement that although she had more time with the children, that you were to claim the children on your tax returns as head of household to receive the tax benefits.

When it comes to court divorce decree versus IRS tax code, a signed order by a judge overrides the IRS tax code.  So if you have a signed court order stating that you are the one to receive the tax deduction, then this will override any IRS tax code that is in place in regards to claiming a dependent child.  If you and your ex agree to alternate years, you may need to fill out and sign IRS Form 8332, which is a “Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents.”

If you file for the exemption and later find out by the IRS that your ex filed for the exemption on the child against court orders, you would then file through the courts a motion for order to show cause regarding contempt, as your ex would have violated a court order by claiming the child even though a previous order ruled otherwise.

See other questions related to taxes and child custody by clicking here!

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