Who can claim children on taxes?

You will claim both of them, as long as you are primary care giver and your address is what the school has for their residence. If he does claim them (my ex did when he wasnt supposed to) you can have the taxes ammended. If he kept them more then you can do every other year but its usually who the primary caregiver is. i would get it set in writing if I were you, exes tend to change and not usually for the better-good luck.


A few weeks ago you were asking if you were obligated to pay the college tuition of your stepchildren after your separation from your WIFE. Now you are asking about the possibility of denying your HUSBAND the opportunity of tax credits. I don’t know what gender you are, but here is my thought on the part of the question in which you asked about the “right thing to do”.

My opinion is that if you and your husband/wife are both contributing substantially to the financial welfare of the children, then you should find a way to both obtain some tax benefits.

My ex-wife does not work. She lives off of welfare. We have 4 children together and I provide a huge amount of child support to care for them. Yet my ex-wife refuses to permit me to claim any of the children for taxes. She gets a bigger refund check (even though she has no income or tax liability) by claiming all 4 as dependents. What irks me more is that even though she can only claim 2 children for the child tax credit, she refuses to tell me which 2 she is claiming so that I cannot use the other two for that purpose without the risk of getting in trouble with the IRS.

Sometimes it’s best to try to get along and be reasonable with the ex-spouse rather than just nitpick and try to screw them over at every last opportunity. At least, that is how I feel with regard to my situation. To answer the question directly, I think the right thing to do is to compromise with your ex on this issue.

I would have to agree with custodyresearcher. It would be better to compromise on this and you really should get it in writing so that it’s consistent. He pays child support so your statement of “I foot all the other expenses for the kid,…” is not entirely correct. You are paid child support which is his portion of what the state says it takes to raise two children. You use that child support to pay your car payment? Fine, then that means you use your own money to pay for clothes. Child support is only a part of the amount it takes…you as the other parent are expected to kick in the rest of the money. This is one of the perks of having primary custody and primary care.
Since you are BOTH supporting your children, it would be the right thing to do to share in the tax benefit…but that’s just my opinion.

Thank you for the responses. Just to clear up a few issues - I am female. I allowed a friend of mine to ask his question regarding tuition using my sign on information. Sorry if that created confusion in the Forum. And for the question regarding using child support to pay for my car. I have an old car that is paid for so, no, the payment I get from my ex for child support goes directly to before school and after school care expenses. Thanks for everyone’s feedback - I see your point.

It wasn’t a question really and I don’t want it to seem that I am attacking you. I just want people to understand that child support is not supposed to be enough to cover everything for the child. It is one parent’s portion of what it takes. This is why, unless a parent is staying home with an child that is below school age or is unable to work, the state can and will impute income for that parent showing income of what they could be making to support their child.

My husband’s ex uses the child support to pay her mortgage payment. So then the rest of the month she’s constantly telling the children that she doesn’t have the money for stuff they need. She even told the oldest that he only pays child support every other month to get out of buying him shoes. My husband pays directly to the state and has never been late. The oldest has seen the checkbook now, after a particularly ugly discussion about us paying for field trips, and understands that anything we buy for them is because we choose to because we love them, not because it’s required by law.

The point is, you can use child support for whatever you choose, but when you do it’s important to remember that it IS child support not spousal support.

I am not a tax attorney and you should consult with a tax attorney before making an decision regarding how to file your taxes. However, under the NC Child Support Guidelines the dependency exemptions go to the parent who is receiving child support.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com/live for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

My husband and I are separated and I have primary custody of our two children, ages 9 and 6. We will be divorced August 2008. My ex husband does pay child support, wages are garnished and he does keep them almost every other weekend. He pays half their medical bills - not promptly but he does pay his half eventually. He picks them up from school twice a week and sees them for the 5 minute ride home. He has never kept them for more than a weekend even though our agreement states he is supposed to keep them for the second week of track out for every track out period during the year round school schedule. He wants to be able to claim one of the children on his tax return for 2008. I don’t know if the law states I am required to let him claim a child or not. I foot all the other expenses for the kids, clothes, lunch money, food, fund raisers, after school sports, music lessons, etc, etc. Do I have to allow him to claim a child? Is it the right thing to do? Or since I have primary custoday can I claim both children without giving any consideration to his request?