IRS Dependent Chid Exemption


I separated from my wife on 11 September 2016. Under a "temporary Custody and Child Support Agreement " i have been paying child support for our two children since 15 October. During 2016 I provided more than half of the children’s support. I plan to file 2016 as married filing separately. My wife refuses to sign a “Release of Claim for Exemption… Form” allowing me to claim one of the children as my dependent for 2016.

Do I have any legal recourse or remedy.

Thank you


You at entitled to claim a child as your dependent if that child lived primarily with you throughout 2016. If you and your wife had an equal amount of overnights with the children, then the parent with the higher adjusted gross income would be entitled to claim the children as your dependent.

If the child did not live with you for the greater number of nights in 2016, or if you do not have the higher adjusted gross income if the overnights are equal, then you are not entitled to claim a child as a dependent in 2016 unless your wife signs the Release. There is no other recourse.

Note that claiming children as dependents is an issue that is often settled in permanent child support agreement or court order so that there is no discrepancy about claiming children on future years’ tax returns.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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