Child Custody Article

Federal and State Tax Exemptions for Dependent Children: Who gets to claim them?

 The Guidelines provide two options.  The first is an agreement between the parents.  Usually, this will happen when the parents come to an amicable settlement on all issues.  If the parents are already struggling to compromise on other issues, do not be surprised if the opposing party will not agree to your tax dependency proposal.  However, it is a possibility for an agreement to be reached.  If the agreement is reached, the parents can make any plan for the tax dependency exemption.  There are no requirements. 

 If the parties cannot agree, then the Guidelines provide a formula for determining who will claim and when they will claim.  The formula is based on each parent’s proportion to the parties combined adjusted gross income.  The formula also does not allow for a parent to claim more than four years in a row.  Lets look at some examples to understand how the formula works. 

 Example 1:  Dad makes about $60,000 annually.  Mom makes about $40,000 annually.  Their combined gross income is $100,000.  Dad’s share of the income is 60%, which equates to 3/5.  Mom’s share of the income is 40%, or 2/5.  Thus, Dad will get to claim the minor child every 3 out of 5 years, and Mom will get to claim the child every 2 out of 5 years. 

 Example 2:  Pretend that in the above example, the parties only have 1 child.  Say they have three children now.  The parents could continue the pattern as discussed above for all three children.  Now if Dad’s income was 33% of the total income or 1/3 and Mom’s income was 67% or 2/3 and they have three children, they could do a similar pattern, or Dad will always claim two children, and Mom will always claim one child.  There is some flexibility here. 

 There are a number of other examples that can come from this formula.  Just remember, it depends on the proportion of the parties combined adjusted gross income.  Another piece of advice is that the child support worksheets will give you a recommendation as well.  So if you are not good at doing math, just take a look at the child support calculator and see what that recommendation is. 

 Overall, the tax dependency exemption should not be complicated nor cause conflict between the parties.  This is why there are guidelines in place to settle those conflicts.  However, I do recommend that if you and the other parent are capable of coming to an agreement on your own terms, it will usually be better for you both, and you will feel better about the results. 

Contributing Attorney: Billie Tarascio litigates family law and domestic violence cases at Modern Law



  • Going to Navy son does not live with me. Navy says I need a temporary custody order saying mother has sole custody till i get out of boot camp. How do i go about this filing it myself?
  • My boyfriend and I have been together 6 years aand have a 3 year old child. My boyfriend and his ex have bee in a custody batter over his 11 year old son for 5 years. His ex just move dout of state and my boufriend now is the primary parent. We would like to move in to the same house and remain unmarried. Will this impact his costody arrangement with his 11 year old? Specifically, is this legal in AZ yo live together?
  • I am currently expecting a baby. The father of my baby left me when I was 7 months, but has stated he wants to be in the baby's life. He is a habitual marijuana smoker, heavy drinker, and the people he surrounds himself with are not the kind of influences I want around my child. He moved in with his mom, who keeps a very dirty house and has been in and out of the hospital with MRSA for the last couple of years. I do not feel like he can provde a safe and stable environment for my daughter. He believes he will get joint custody. What actions do I need to take to ensure this does not happen?
  • i am divorced, and have just found out that my ex, has enlisted in the military. he has custody of my daughter, and i have a visitation order. he wants to give the child to his mother when he gets out of basic, i now live in ohio, and need to know how to change the custody orders.
  • Where do i go to get signed up for the parenting class?
  • I passed the first hair folical test and cant afford another can I lose my kid if I dont take it again my ex doesnt have hair to take can they do this
  • I Live with my boyfriend and the father of my baby. I am unhappy with the way things are going and want to move to New Mexico where my family is. My boyfriend says he is not going to let that happen. He is on the birth certificate. What are my legal rights if I leave.
  • My daughters father has been absent for 5 years. He had a prior court order that allowed him visitation over 5 years ago. He completely stopped taking her or picking her up. Has not contacted her or I since then. She is now 8 and he now wants to see her again and wants shared legal etc. He is also now engaged and had a 2 year old. Is it likely he will just get visitation ? Or will I be able to get full custody ?
  • My In- Laws currently have custody of my nephew I want to know how I can transfer custody and how much will it cost?
  • I filed for emergency custody of my daughter. It was granted. We returned to court within the 10 days and the judge kept it in place for the time being and scheduled a meditation a few months out. I no longer feel the emergency custody is necessary. Can I cancel it without having to go through the meditation process?


  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .



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