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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Family Law > Claiming a Child as a Dependent After Divorce

Claiming a Child as a Dependent After Divorce


When a couple is married, it is common to file taxes jointly and claim kids as dependents to  establish certain tax benefits. After a divorce, the two individuals will no longer be filing a joint return as a married couple because they are no longer married. For this reason, who will be able to claim children as dependents changes.

Who will claim a child varies depending on what type of custody agreement is in place. If you are moving forward with a divorce in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, talk through all of the details with a skilled Bucks County family attorney.

One Parent Can Claim Dependent

The important thing to point out is that one person can claim a child who qualifies as a dependent.

Children who qualify must be the following.

  • At or under the age of 19
  • A full-time student who is under the age of 24
  • Lived with you for over half the year
  • Did not provide their own support

In most circumstances, it is the custodial parent who will claim the child or children. Of course if custody is being shared, who claims a child needs to be established.

The IRS is not going to handle any claim disputes on your behalf. Essentially, for the IRS, whoever files and claims a child first will receive the deduction. The second return that comes in and attempts to claim the same child will be rejected. For this reason, it is best to have agreements put in place before it is time to file your taxes.

Putting Agreements in Place

When you discuss the dissolution of your marriage with a Bucks County family attorney they can walk you through all of the decisions that will need to be made. When parents decide to share custody one solution may be for the parents to alternate claiming a child on their taxes. There are also times when a noncustodial parent will be granted the ability to claim the child within a divorce decree due to substantial income differences.

In order to maintain a good relationship, many choose the option for alternating years. But it is important to weigh all of the options before deciding. After all, once a divorce is finalized, altering agreements is not simple. In order for alterations to be made, the request must be submitted to the court. When parents want to change parental plans, including making financial and tax changes, it is important to work with an experienced attorney. Agreements need to be legally binding, otherwise disputes and troubles can arise.

In many instances, modifications to divorce agreements will only be accepted if there is a considerable change, including remarriage, job loss, health insurance shifts, etc.

Do you want to be sure you can claim your child on your taxes once your divorce is finalized? The family law attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand can help. Our dedicated legal team understands the finer points of family law. There are opportunities to create the life you want. Schedule your consultation today, call 215-968-6602.

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