Saturday, March 8, 2008

Child of separated or divorced parents

For a separated or divorced parent to claim a child it is required that the child did not provide more than half of his or her own support, child lived for more than half of the year with either of the parents, and the child is not a qualifying child for anyone else.

Who can claim the child?
In most cases, because of the residency test, a child of divorced or separated parents is the qualifying child of the custodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the longer period of time. The other parent is the non-custodial parent.

As per tax law changes for the year 2008, the "custodial parent" is now defined as "the parent with whom the child resides for the greater number of nights during the calender year." It is no longer determined based on number of days, but now it is based on number of nights. Further, a child is not considered residing with either parent starting with the date the child is emancipated under state law reaches age of majority. A child who reaches age of majority on or before the day after the half way point (normally July 3) will not be in the custody of parents for more than half the year.

There is an exemption to the number of nights rule. If a child resides with one parent for a greater number of days, but not greater number of nights due to parent's nighttime schedule, this parent is the custodial parent. For this purpose, on school days, the child is deemed to be residing during the day with the primary residence registered with the school.

Even if the non-custodial parent is paying the child support or provides more than half of the support of the child, the custodial parent is the one you can generally claim the child.

If the parents divorced or separated during the year and the child lived with both parents before the separation, the custodial parent is the one with whom the child lived for the greater part of the rest of the year.

If the child lived with each parent the same amount of time in a year, then the parent with the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) can claim the child.

Requirements for noncustodial parent to claim the child
Noncustodial parent can claim the child if
1. The custodial parent signs a written declaration/release (Form 8332) that he or she will not claim the child as a dependent for the year, and the non-custodial parent attaches this written declaration to her or his return, or
2. The noncustodial parent attaches certain pages from the decree. The decree or agreement must state all three of the following.
a. The noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent without regard to any condition, such as payment of support.
b. The custodial parent will not claim the child as a dependent for the year.
c. The years for which the non-custodial parent, rather than the custodial parent, can claim the child as a dependent.

Unmarried Parents
If unmarried parents are unable to decide who can claim the child, they must follow the rules applicable in case of separated or divorced parents.

More Articles:
Your Filing Status
1. Filing Status for Married
2. Head of Household
Exemptions for Dependents
1. Requirements for claiming a dependent
2. Child of separated or divorced parents
Filing Requirements
1. Filing Requirement for a Dependent
Your Income
1. W2 vs 1099-Misc: Employee vs Independent Contractor
2. Tax Filing by Self Employed Sole Proprietor or Independent Contractor
3. Filing W4 Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
Income Adjustment and deductions
1. Moving Expenses
2. Itemized deductions
3. Student Loan Interest Deductions
Income Adjustments -- Retirement Plans
1. Trad IRA and Roth IRA
2. Elective Deferrals 401(k) Plans
What's New for 2009
What's New for 2009

... More Articles

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