Taxes, CSA, Daughter no longer a minor


#1

Question updated 1-23-13

Timeline and Facts:
Marriage: 8/8/1987
Daughter born 10/18/1993
Separation: 9/1/1996
Divorce: 10/13/1997
Dependent spouse = dad
Custodial parent = mom - Joint custody awarded, 4 nights with mom, 3 nights with dad.

Exact wording of Consent Order, which contained the child custody, separation agreement, and property settlement, and was entered 05/01/1997:
Item 5 under the separation agreement: Child Support. It is hereby mutually agreed as follows:
a. Wife shall pay directly to Husband, for the use and benefit of the minor child, the sum of $189 per month; such payments are to be made on or before the first day of each month after the execution of this agreement and to continue thereafter in consecutive monthly payments.

Item 17 under Property Setttlement: Tax Exemption and Deductions. It is expressly agreed that Husband shall be entitled to claim the minor child as dependent for both state and federal income tax purposes for tax years 1998 and even-numbered years thereafter. It is expressly agreed that Wife shall be entitled to claim the minor child as dependent for both state and federal income tax purposes for tax years 1997 and odd-numbered years thereafter.

**There is no date stated in the order indicating when the terms of the custody and child support would end.

Question:
Can it be inferred that since both the above paragraphs specifically state ‘…the minor child’, that they no longer apply since the child reached age 18 on 10/18/2011?

I believe IRS tax code clearly indicates that I am entitled to claim her as a dependent for tax purposes because she has lived almost exclusively with me and I have provided well over 50% of her support. (she has not yet had a job, therefore doesn’t support herself). Daughter began college in August 2012. Mom has paid 100% of all tuition/board/expenses that weren’t covered by scholarships/grants/student loans. (Dad has not co-signed on any of child’s student loans). However, dad states that he will continue claiming daughter as dependent for tax purposes, for even-numbered years (with or without my signing an IRS Form 8332).

Thank you for any guidance you may be able to offer!


#2

Child support terminates automatically under the statute, so the child support obligation would end. There is nothing specific in the statute about the tax exemption. I would attempt to claim the child and let the IRS sort it out. If the IRS doesn’t give you the exemption, I would consider taking it back to court.