Other Family Issues 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


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  • I need a break from my mom we got in an argument. I know if I asked her to leave she wouldn't let me. I wrote her a note saying why I left and that I would be back tomorrow after I attend school. Meaning I will be gone less than 24 hours. If she calls the cops on me for leaving what is the worst they can do?
  • My 36 year old daughter died recently in a car crash. I have had to make all funeral arrangements, so sent my ex-husband the bill for him to pay HALF. He is bulking at paying it. We are both next of kin, do I have to pay the whole $7500 myself, or do I have any recourse to make him own up to his responsibilities to his deceased daughter?
  • My mother passed away in 2012, she will the family home to my 2 sisters and I. 1 sister signed off on estate not wanting any of it. My oldest sister moved her son and girlfriend into mothers house. My mother has a mortgage on home and I think my sister is wrong for keeping account open under my mothers name. She tells me to not worry about it. What can I do about it. I want to sell the home. Any help would be appreciated.
  • I¬†want to leave my house and live my own life. What is the procedure to terminate my relationship from my father?
  • What are the consequences for failing to provide an AFI, to the other party, when it is required by court order?
  • My husband died 4 months after we married. Under Arizona law, am I entitled to anything in his estate. He did not have a will.
  •  6 days ago my daughter was removed from my care, no complaint of abuse or neglect of any kind was made. She was removed from my care due to the fact that I have a diagnosis of PTSD. Once I was diagnose with that I enrolled in counseling. I have been doing that for 7 months now every week. My psychiatrist and therapist both state that I am not a danger to myself or to my child however CPS claims that she cant in my custody. No legal action has been taken, nor have their been any court orders, but they claim that I can only be with her under supervision and cannot spend the night with her.
  • Can a person who has power of attorney over a senior citizen ban family members from any contact with that senior?
  • Can a person who has power of attorney over a senior citizen ban family members from any contact with that senior?
  • A friend of mine is about to lose his son. His ex wife is planning on taking his to her home country in Indonesia. He has gone about keeping his son here in the U.S. the legal way through the court of law. The judge is quick to grant her permission on taking their son back to Indonesia without even considering his loss. He fears for his child that is a U.S. citizen going back to a third world country. The judge seems to believe that its best for the child to go back with her. His ex wife has already told him she will be leaving in ten days and he will never see his son again.

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