Claiming Child on Taxes???

Updated on June 23, 2011
L.G. asks from Vineland, NJ
21 answers

My daughters father just called and asked if he could claim out daughter every other year on taxes. My daughter is 10 and her father and I have always had an agreement amongst ourselves. (we kept it out of the courts) During the school year my daughter lives with me and stays with her father every other weekend. I get $500 a month from him for her. During the summer she stays with him and I get her every other weekend and during this time he does not pay child support. He is not a bad father he is just not helpful financially beyond his child support. Does he have the right to claim her every other year??? I am a single mother with another son and I live pay check to paycheck. It's hard but I manage and my kids are always taken care of. He is married with two other kids living in a beautiful house in a nice part of town. Help!!!! I am angry that he wants to do this but he said it is his right and wants to settle this as adults ...he does not want to take me to court if he does not have to. Is it really worth the fight especially since we have a decent relationship and my daughter is very happy. I don't want her to notice a change in the atmosphere.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for some great advise. I talked to my aunts friend who was the supervisor for child support at welfare and she agreed with the fact that I have every right to say no. I can only hope my decision does not make him turn this into something it does not have to be. That tax money is very important each year. This year it went all to my daughter for expander for her teeth and a gifted program she got into for this summer. Next year she is supposed to get braces and the the tax money is where I would be getting the money to pay for it. Believe when I say my children come first and everything I do and earn is to make there life better. Thanks again and I will keep you posted on the outcome.

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answers from Washington DC on

Well no it is not his " right" . Fed tax law is clear...the child lives with you for the majority of the year so you get to claim her.

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answers from New York on

Your anger is justified. This man just tried to punk you out to get his way. Firstly he doesn't have any right to claim the child every other year. That is an agreement that should be done in writing and presented to the court according to the IRS rules.

I received child support in NJ. My guess is that he wants to keep it out of the courts because he probably knows according to the formula used by the system he would be paying you far more than he is right now.

Get yourself prepared by getting a great attorney. Save money anyway possible because I wouldn't advise you to go to court without one but stall him as you prepare to go to court.

In the NJ formula they consider all income from all adults supporting the children and all the children in the house, they then take the support calculation and divide it by your and his percentage of income to determine just how much you each owe the child in support. Think of it like a pie. The state would be determining based on the income that your kid is entilted to $100 a week in support you may be responsible for only $20 because you only make 20% of the income calculated to support the kid. He then would be responsible for the $80 a week for the care of the kid. Visitation and claiming the child on a tax return are all things that can be determined in the order for support and custody.

Keep you emotions on this matter to yourself as you work out how you are going to handle this but it does need to be handled. I'm so angry with him for treating you like this. I loathe when men try to manipulate women because we are women.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Hi, Lil:
Just say, "NO."
"I need the extra income."

He can then make a decision on what he wants to
do about it. You already supplied the reason to say no.
Of course, you don't have to get into an argument with him
about this. You know the drill.

Good luck.
(You give an inch, he wants a mile. Something like that.)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I think it is only fair that he gets to claim your daughter every other year. I also think it is fair that he doesn't pay child support when she is staying with him. At that point in time he is caring for her 100%. $500 a month should be plenty to take care of a 10 y.o.

This is just a general statement for all parents who receive child support, but. It seems that most parents that receive child support rely on this money and they shouldn't. This is not guaranteed money and can stop at any time. This money should be put aside for the care of the child. New shoes, daycare expenses, extra activities. Just my thoughts though. I know it is easier said then done.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My husband and his ex wife split the claiming of taxes.

~I personally think that it is fair to do so too. I mean if you think about it, dads who pay CS and have visitation have to pay monthly CS AND have to keep up a house and a room w/toys and clothes and all that stuff for when the child is at their they deserve a tax break too.

Let me ask you this? Do you pay CS to him during the summer? Seems like you me anyway...if you do not why do you think you shouldn't?

IMO, giving him the option of claiming the child every other year is
more than fair and you should think about doing it?!

The amount of other kids he has and what kind of house he lives in is not relevant in the slightest bit...that just makes you seem jealous and petty.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

Forget about trying to be nice for the sake of "atmosphere". It's time to get a legal agreement in writing so you are not wondering when your child's father is going to pull the rug out from under you.

Find an attorney or apply for legal aid. Don't let your ex tell you what his rights are. Find out for yourself what the law says in your state. I'm in Oregon, and claim my 2 boys as dependents on my taxes. Their dad and I share custody but I am considered the primary residential parent, so I get to claim them every year. Having everything in writing means I don't have to get angry or worry about whether I'll get child support next year when my ex decides he wants to change things. This is how adults settle things, clearly, legally, in writing. Do it for your daughter.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't know if it's the same from state to state, but here in CA, if you have 51%+ physical custody of the child, you can legally claim them every year on your taxes, unless there is some other agreement worked out. A friend of mine recently discovered this, as he has slightly more than 50% custody of his kids, and his tax attorney told him that is how the law reads. So actually, since you have way more than 50% custody, you should be able to claim your daughter on your taxes every year. Tell your husband that's fine if he wants to take it to court - then you will also re-negotiate child support at that time. (This friend of mine makes around $50K per year, his ex makes more than that, and the courts were making him pay $800/month in child support for 2 kids even though he has more than 50% custody - go figure! So it sounds like you could probably be getting a lot more in child support if you need it!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Scranton on

The way the new tax laws are set up he can not claim her without you signing a paper allowing it that has to be filed with the IRS. The law now trumps whatever was set up in court via divorce/support courts. The way its set up now is the parent who has the child/children 51% of the time is the only one who can claim them without filing paper work. I forget which number was assigned to said paperwork but you can call the IRS and get that information you can also ask that a block be put on her SS number so that only you can file using her. We went through this, this year. The IRS was very helpful in this matter and kicked back the ex's taxes and let ours go through with my child on it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Hmmm. I think the reason he is asking you is that he can't just do it because he DOESN'T have the right. Check with a good attorney and accountant. Sounds to me that by threatening you, he may unwittingly be poking the hornets nest because he's not paying enough child support, and he'd be sorry if you went to court, so I'd call him on that bluff. Child support should be year round. Being on good terms with your ex should not be contingent on you giving to much, which you already are. Don't let him bully you. Know your rights. You may be best off going to court actually. Speak to a few experts in your state.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

According to the IRS the person who claims the child, is who the child lived with the majority of the time. This would be you. There are exceptions, so he could claim her every other year if you agree to it. IMO no way!!!

If he wants to settle this as adults, that means coming up with a legal written agreement. Although, I would recommend going through the courts, to the best of my knowledge it's not necessary. The two of you can draw up an agreement, sign it and have it notarized.

Just another thought... It sounds like he could afford alot more than $500 a month (unless his new family is living off of his spouses income). I would consult with an attorney.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

A lot of divorced families do alternate the tax deduction each year. But then, a lot of fathers pay support every month, all year long, no matter if they have extended summer visitation.

You may want to attempt to negotiate an increase in total support, in exchange for the tax deduction. I agree that you want to keep this out of the courts, as that will cost you both more than the tax deduction is worth. And cause resentment.

BTW - it is not his business whether you are single or married, or have other children or not. It is his business if he is paying the proper amount of child support given what his income is now. You might want to check with an authority in your state to see if $500 x 9 months is reasonable.

One thing my ex and I did was to figure out who would get the biggest tax break, I claimed our daughter, then I shared half of the tax deduction with him. Well, not truly with him, it went into our daughter's bank account to catch up on her expenses.

If you are able to discuss this with him, maybe you could share how much of a benefit it is for each of you, and come to an agreement that would be better for both of you.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I would say that it is usually standard to share who claims the child. I think it is standard that it is every other year the other parent can claim the child on their taxes. I would say it is fair. I think that he pays regular child support and that you both have a good relationship. As parents, I think that many of us struggle with the current economy. Many parents live pay check to paycheck.



answers from Houston on

Please get advice from an accountant. The last thing you need is trouble with the IRS. Someone in your area can surely give you the name of an accountant who can answer this one simple question for not much money. Our accountant gave us good information before we used her professionally and charged nothing for it. The IRS and state revenue services have strict rules about these things.



answers from Philadelphia on

I know you said that you have kept everything out of court, but legally the parent that pays child support has the right to claim the child on their taxes. He actually has the right to claim her every year. I know it will be hard, but rather than put yourself and your daughter through a huge court battle, it might be worth it to let him claim her every other year. Hope it all works out.



answers from Chicago on

Since she spends the majority of her time with you i would say hell no if he is financially better off then you are not to mention you are the custodial parent.

How did you come up with $500 a month? Is this an agreement you have with him without the legal system? If it is are you sure you are receiving enough child support? If not, I certainly would have him increase the child support and then you could consider this.

If it starts to get ugly I am afraid you will need to pursue this with an attornery to make sure you are getting what is owed for the support of your family.



answers from Honolulu on

Tell him you will need more in child support on the years he claims her.... I suggest it be how much you would get for claiming her on your taxes.

I think that if he gets more than you for claiming her then he should always claim her and pay you more in child support every year... I am betting though that he will not get any financial benefit from this though...



answers from Philadelphia on

In my opinion, he has every right to share in the tax deduction. The fact that he has a better life style depends on different factors. Does his new wife work? There could be a compromise. You can always tell him that if you both went to court he may get to take the tax deduction every other year, but you will have to right to ask for more child support and could certainly get it as it doesn't sound like much money if he's living the good life, especially if the good life is by his sole employment. Compromise by asking for more child support and then he can have the tax deduction every other year.

With that said, I think there is a thing out there where divorced parents each get a partial of shared children. You may want to call H&R Block or some place to get some details before you make a decision.

Just remind him that no, he does not want to go to court because he may get his way, but you may also get yours by the courts giving you much more child support. And also, remember, any other children and spouses have nothing to do with child support on any one particular child. Doesn't matter if you have another child or not. Courts don't care about that, just like they won't care how many other children he has. They care about how much money he makes and what percentage of his income should go to this one particular child.

Make some phone calls and get some facts about how much courts generally award for child support and also about shared tax deductions.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

***After reading your response about what happened, be sure to keep every receipt that is spent on your child so that if it does go to court the judge will see that your tax refund was spent on her. Keep your tax documents and dates they were deposited and so on.



answers from Dallas on

Check the IRS code. It states that if there is a conflict on who claims the child/children then the custodial parent claims the child/children. It is the tie breaker rule. Unfortunately, if he is already threatening to fight you on this I would say to get a lawyer.


answers from Phoenix on

I didn't read your prior responses but in my divorce decree it states my ex can claim our son and me our daughter only IF HE IS CURRENT ON CHILD SUPPORT. I believe that is the standard AZ wording. So far he is always laid off and behind so each year I have gotten to claim BOTH kids!!!So yes, it is fair for him to do that if he does all that he's supposed to. Good luck.



answers from Tucson on

if he helps support her it is in his rights to claim on taxes. you could go to mediation to get it figured out.



answers from Louisville on

You don't state if there is any documentation to your agreement (just that it wasn't in the courts), but the IRS usually requires the custodial parent to provide a certain form to the non-custodial parent saying they are allowing the non-cp to claim tbe child that year.

Another question for you - not trying to get in your business, but do you claim EIC with/for you/your children. (wondering since you say it's paycheck to paycheck) Just remember, you may lose EIC if someone else claims the child.

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