In the previous article of Children, Divorce and Taxes, I discussed the Internal Revenue Service rules for which parent can claim the children on their income taxes without a court order. In this section we look at the what happens if there is an order that awards the tax exemption to the non-custodial parent.
Oklahoma courts generally have the power to decide which parent may claim the dependency exemption each year. The most common approach is that the court will alternate the right to claim the children from year to year, by giving one parent odd years and the other even years. In the case of two children, the court often gives one parent one child and the other one child, with the provision that once the eldest child ages out, the youngest will alternate.
In the case of a court order, the non-custodial parent may claim a child as a dependent on his or her taxes. The mechanics of this requires one of two things:
1. That the custodial parent sign and deliver to the non-custodial parent an IRS Form 8332, which the non-custodial parent attaches to his or her tax return. The form can be found here.
2. If the divorce decree is (A.) unconditionally gives the dependency exemption to the non-custodial parent and (B.) is signed by the custodial parent and has a date of execution, then the non-custodial parent may attach a copy of the decree.
Of course, most divorce decrees do not unconditionally give the right to the non-custodial, and often requires that the non-custodial parent paid his or her child support obligations in full. We will discuss this in more detail in our next article. Part 3 of Children, Taxes and Divorce will cover tax orders in decrees and best practices.
For questions regarding children, divorce and taxes, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.