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Who reports the children on their tax return after a divorce?

New York residents who have children commonly claim them on their tax returns to increase the number of tax breaks that they get. For example, one can receive the Earned Income Credit or dependent tax credit when they claim their children on their tax return. If you’ve recently gone through a divorce, it can bring up the question of who is able to claim the children on their tax return.

A determination of custodial versus non-custodial parents

When you go through a divorce, it’s likely that one parent will be named the custodial parent while another will be named a noncustodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent that the child spends more than half of their time with. Traditionally, the custodial parent will be the one who claims the children on their tax return. However, if a noncustodial parent provides more than half of the support for the child, they may be able to claim them on their tax return.

Divorce decrees

When you go through the process of divorce, taxes are one of the subjects that you should have gone over. Many times, referring back to your divorce decree can reveal which spouse is capable of filing the children as dependents on their tax return. In the event that your divorce decree does not touch on this matter, tiebreaker rules go into effect.

As you just learned above, the custodial parent is typically given priority over the other parent. However, if a child spends an equal amount of time with both parents, each parent’s adjusted gross income will be examined. The parent who has the highest adjusted gross income will typically be able to claim the children as dependents on their tax return.

When you go through a divorce in child custody proceedings, you likely have a lot on your mind. One area that you’ll definitely want to address is who can claim the children on their tax returns. The parent who is capable of claiming the children will likely receive tax breaks that the other parent will not.