Do I have to claim my wife on my taxes if we are divorcing? 2 Answers as of April 22, 2011

I am getting divorced and I filed my taxes as married filing separate. I claimed my kids and gave her the money I got for them. I got back 9000 and gave her 3000, but now her lawyer is saying I owe her half. I was just wondering if I do since I didn't claim her on my taxes. Thank you.

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You cannot claim your wife as your dependent when you are filing married filing separately. If you were the custodial parent or your wife and you agreed on IRS Form 8332 (Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent), you can claim your children as your dependents. Otherwise, you cannot. Please contact the Doan Law Firm's Tax Attorney to help you with your problems.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/22/2011
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm | Steven J. Fromm & Associates, P.C.
Your marital status on December 31 controls; if you were married, generally, you must either file married filing jointly or married filing separately. As to the dependents, you are entitled to claim them if you meet certain tests under the Internal Revenue Code. I have a legal guide at my profile exploring this issue in more detail. It is entitled DIVORCED OR SEPARATED PARENTS: DETERMINATION OF DEPENDENCY EXEMPTION.

As to you giving her your tax refund, it is impossible to give you an answer without a review of your actual tax return and what your divorce lawyer's position on this issue. However, if you are entitled to these exemptions under the tax laws, generally, you are not obligated to share the tax benefits with a separated spouse.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 4/22/2011
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