Are you filing for divorce and want to claim one or more of your children on your 2020 taxes? There are conditions that must be met in order for you to legally do so and avoid trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
A problem can arise when separated or divorcing spouses both claim the same child(ren) as tax deductions on their income tax returns. One may even rush to beat the other to file their taxes in order to get the much-needed deduction to lower their taxes or increase their refund substantially.
Rules govern who may claim children as dependents
The rules for claiming children as dependents on federal income taxes are complex and cover almost any potential scenario. They are far too extensive to delve into here. But the short version is that in most cases, the custodial parent retains the right to claim the children on their taxes. But it should be noted that there are several exceptions to this rule.
Parents are free to make their own agreements
When you separate or divorce, you can include a provision in your separation agreement or divorce judgment waiving the right of the custodial parent to claim the kids. For instance, many co-parents agree to each take one or more of the children as tax deductions so that both parents are able to benefit financially. Others may agree to alternate years or to split a percentage of the refund with the other parent.
Get all agreements in writing and signed by a judge
In cases like this, never accept a verbal agreement. Insist that it be in writing, filed with the court and signed by a judge. Your Fort Lauderdale family law attorney can prepare and file the documents that will allow you to claim your child as a tax deduction.