Typical way of claiming children on taxes after divorce?


#1

I am the custodial parent of our 2 children, with my stbx having them every-other-weekend. Our draft agreement currently reads that we will each claim one child each tax year, then alternate years of claiming the younger child when the older child reaches age 18.

Is this typical? I thought that as the custodial parent would claim the children under the basis that they would deserve the deduction after having the primary responsibility of caring for them.

Would this answer change once I start receiving child support?


#2

The custodial parent has the right to claim both children every year. I typically see an agreement to do otherwise when the custody 50/50. Child support is irrelevant to who claims the child.


#3

Here is the original wording, along with the wording I have modified. There is a paragraph in our consent order that states we will go to mediation to revise the custody arrangement once he has a job and a 3BR residence. Until that point, I want to ensure I claim both children on the taxes.

Original wording: Husband and wife, if they so desire, may file a joint State and Federal tax returns for the year 2009. If they choose to file a joint return for 2009, the parties shall split equally any tax refund or tax liability. If one or both parties decide not to file a joint return for 2009, beginning in 2009 and each eligible year thereafter, wife shall be allowed to claim the dependency exemption for the minor child, “A” and husband shall be allowed to claim the dependency exemption for the minor child, “B”. Once the older child is no longer eligible to be claimed as a dependency exemption, the parties shall alternate years claiming the remaining minor child with wife claiming the exemption in every odd numbered tax year and husband claiming the exemption in every even numbered tax year. In the event the parties are audited or otherwise found to have tax liability for any year in which they filed a joint return, all costs, including but not limited to, delinquent taxes, penalties, interest auditing fees and accountant fees shall be shared equally between the parties. If the parties elect not to file a joint return for the year 2009, they shall equally split the mortgage interest deduction and student loan interest deduction for payments made from January 2009 through March 2009. Thereafter, Wife shall be allowed to claim the mortgage interest deduction for the marital residence for April 2009 through December 2009 and husband shall be allowed to claim the student loan interest deduction for April 2009 through December 2009. Each year thereafter, wife shall be allowed to claim all mortgage interest deductions or any other deductions associated with the marital residence and husband shall be allowed to claim all student loan interest deductions or any other deductions associated with his student loan payments.

My modified wording (changes in bold): Husband and wife, if they so desire, may file a joint State and Federal tax returns for the year 2009. If they choose to file a joint return for 2009, the parties shall split equally any tax refund or tax liability. If one or both parties decide not to file a joint return for 2009, beginning in 2009 and each eligible year thereafter, the custodial parent shall be allowed to claim the dependency exemption for the minor children “A” and “B”. Once an equitable child custody schedule is in place, husband shall be allowed to claim the dependency exemption for the minor child, “B” and wife shall be allowed to claim the dependency exemption for the minor child, “A”. Once the older child is no longer eligible to be claimed as a dependency exemption, the parties shall alternate years claiming the remaining minor child with wife claiming the exemption in every odd numbered tax year and husband claiming the exemption in every even numbered tax year. In the event the parties are audited or otherwise found to have tax liability for any year in which they filed a joint return, all costs, including but not limited to, delinquent taxes, penalties, interest auditing fees and accountant fees shall be shared equally between the parties. If the parties elect not to file a joint return for the year 2009, they shall equally split the mortgage interest deduction and student loan interest deduction for payments made from January 2009 through March 2009. Thereafter, Wife shall be allowed to claim the mortgage interest deduction for the marital residence for April 2009 through December 2009 and husband shall be allowed to claim the student loan interest deduction for April 2009 through December 2009. Each year thereafter, wife shall be allowed to claim all mortgage interest deductions or any other deductions associated with the marital residence and husband shall be allowed to claim all student loan interest deductions or any other deductions associated with his student loan payments.

Will this work, or is there a better way to word this?


#4

I would refrain from using the word “equitable” when refering to child custody, and would leave the issue of the dependancy exemption out of the agreement all together. As the custodial parent you have the right to claim both children unless and until you agree otherwise.