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After a Florida Divorce, Who Gets to Claim the Child as a Dependent?


For couples who are unmarried, divorced or separated, determining which parent can claim your child as a dependent can be complicated. Essentially, only one parent can claim the child as a dependent each year. The IRS monitors this very closely by checking social security numbers to make sure that both parents aren’t taking advantage of the exemption in the same year.

Regardless of whether or not the parents come to an agreement on this issue, they must abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the IRS regarding dependency exemptions.

In general, the parent who provides the most financial support for the child that year is entitled to claim the child as a dependent, unless that parent relinquishes this right by submitting IRS Form 8332, or if there is a court-administered divorce decree or separation agreement stating otherwise. Here is a brief explanation.

How the Dependency Exemption is Typically Allocated After a Divorce

Couples are allowed to come to an agreement on who will claim the child as a dependent each year. However, if they cannot come to an agreement, the court will make the decision for them based on a variety of factors. Here are three primary scenarios:

  1. If you have a court-approved maintenance agreement, the parent with whom the child resides, or who has primary custody during the year, is entitled to claim the child as a dependent, unless he or she waives this right to claim the child as a dependent in a divorce decree, separation agreement, or with IRS Form 8332.
  1. If you are unmarried, lived with the other parent for the last half of the year, or you do not have a court-approved child support or child custody agreement, then the parent who provides more than 50 percent of the child’s financial support is entitled to claim the dependent for that year.
  1. If you and the other parent share custody and provide financial support for the child on an equal basis, the parent entitled to claim the child as a dependent becomes much more difficult to determine. Often, the courts will have to make the decision based on what is in the best interest of the child. For more information on who is entitled to claim the child as a dependent in this scenario, you can consult IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, or an experienced family law attorney who can clarify the applicable rules for you.

Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney

Your finances may dramatically change after a divorce. At Jodat Law Group, P.A., we can help you protect your financial health and plan for the future during this difficult period in your life. Contact your Bradenton & Sarasota divorce attorneys at 877-912-2671 or contact us to schedule a free consultation online. We will evaluate your case and explain your financial options.

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