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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Family Law > Once Divorce Is Finalized, Can I Still Claim My Kids?

Once Divorce Is Finalized, Can I Still Claim My Kids?


Divorce raises many issues beyond the division of assets and property. For example, if you are a parent, you may be mulling over who will be claiming children for tax purposes. Claiming children on your tax returns may have become routine throughout your marriage, but the rules about child exemptions become more intricate post-divorce.

To explore the tax implications of divorce, and the importance of outlining child-related tax matters in a parenting plan, connect with a Bucks County family attorney. A Pennsylvania lawyer who has extensive experience helping parents through the divorce process can assist you in navigating these complexities.

Outlining Tax Matters in a Parenting Plan

While each situation needs to be reviewed, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does provide citizens with guidelines, such as the following.

  • Custodial parent. In most cases, the parent with whom the child primarily resides is referred to as the custodial parent. This is the parent who can typically claim children as dependents for tax purposes, such as being allowed to take advantage of tax credits and deductions.
  • Non-custodial parent. While the custodial parent often has the ability to access tax advantages, the particulars will depend on the custody agreement and parenting plan. For instance, a non-custodial parent may still be able to claim certain tax benefits if they meet specific criteria, from educational tax credits to ex-spouse agreeing to alternate head of household filing status.
  • Child support payments. Generally, payments for child support are generally not tax-deductible for the paying parent. These funds are also typically not considered taxable income for the receiving parent. Also keep in mind that alimony payments are tax-deductible for the paying spouse and considered taxable income for the recipient.

To avoid potential misunderstandings after divorce, take care of all child-related tax matters in advance. You can do this by creating a well-rounded parenting plan, which is a court-approved document outlining the custody and visitation arrangements.

Tax Details to Include in a Parenting Plan

Parenting plans are extremely helpful in avoiding conflicts, and adding more information than you think will be needed is far better than having a plan light on details. Dependency exemptions, such as which parent can claim the children as dependents each year, should be included, as well as provisions regarding important tax-related decisions, such as the choice of filing status (e.g., head of household).

A Bucks County family attorney can play a vital role in helping you navigate the tax implications of divorce, and they can provide you with information on how to structure your parenting plan to address tax issues, and will do so in a way that complies with state and federal laws.

Could you use advice on child-related tax matters? A family attorney can guide you through the separation and divorce process as a parent, including ensuring your parenting plan is in compliance with tax laws and protects your financial interests. To learn more, discuss the specifics of your situation with the legal team at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Call 215-968-6602 for a consultation.

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