My spouse and I are divorced - who gets to claim the kids on our taxes?

CLAIMING A CHILD AS A DEPENDENT

As a Berks County child support and custody lawyer, Attorney Joe Guillama is often asked by his clients whether they have the right to claim their child or children as a dependent on their taxes. This is not as easy of a question as some lawyers might think. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Code states that "the individual with whom the child spends the majority of the overnights in one given year has the right to claim the child as a dependent on his or her taxes". However, Rule 1910.16-2(f) is entitled "Dependency Tax Exemption". That law states "In order to maximize the total income available to the parties and children, the Court may, as justice and fairness require, award the federal child dependency tax exemption to the non-custodial parent, or to either parent in cases of equally shared custody, and order the other party to execute the Waiver required by the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C.A. Section 152(e). The tax consequences resulting from an award of the child dependency exemption must be considered in calculating each party's income available for support."

On several occasions, Attorney Guillama has represented clients in Berks County Court who, although not being the custodial parent, have pursued the right to claim the child as a dependency on his or her tax return. A typical example of when this occurs is when the custodial parent is either unemployed or has such a low income that it would make financial sense for the other party to claim the child as a dependent on his or her taxes.

If you have any question as to whether or not you have the right to claim your child as a dependent on your tax return, contact Berks County Custody Lawyer Joseph A. Guillama to discuss your options.