Who can claim a child as a dependent for tax purposes? 8 Answers as of August 07, 2015

Many years ago, my husband’s divorce decree stipulated that he would claim his son for tax purposes, and his ex-wife would claim his daughter. When his daughter graduated from high school, the ex-wife threw her out of the house and she moved in with us. We did not go back through the court system to modify the decree, as he only had about 7 months of child support left to pay (daughter was 18, but age of majority is 19 in our state) before our daughter turned 19. Since then, she has continued to live with us (for the past 3 ½ years), we have provided all of her support, housing, college tuition assistance, etc. Her mother has provided no monetary support whatsoever.

This year, it occurred to us that we should be claiming her as a dependent, as her mother threw her out of the house and has not supported her in any way financially. We told the ex-wife that was out intention and she said we can’t, because that isn’t what the divorce decree says. It would seem that when she threw her daughter out, and our daughter reached the age of majority, then the decree no longer “rules”. Can we claim our daughter on our taxes?

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Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
Good question. You might want to discuss it wit a tax expert. To be more certain of your right to claim the deduction, you might want to move to amend the original divorce judgment to provide for the tax exemption passing to you, which. Good Luck.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 8/7/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Divorce decrees can determine who gets to claim the exemption between the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent. Once a child reaches the age of majority, the concept of custody ceases to exist - no one has custody of an adult. For an adult child, the only person who can claim the exemption is the person who qualifies for the exemption under the tax law. If she lives with you for more than 1/2 the year (a student away at school counts as living at their permanent residence), you provided more than 1/2 of her support are the requirements in a nutshell. Since the adult child neither lived with her mother ?nor did her mother provide any support, the mother doesn't qualify - regardless of what the decree says.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/7/2015
Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
You get to claim her as a dependent. Consider filing amended returns for the last three years to claim her for those years, too.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/6/2015
Law Office of Barton R. Resnicoff | Barton R. Resnicoff
Has the mother claimed the daughter as a dependent? If not, of course her dad(and you)could do so with a problem. Since she is beyond the age of emancipation in your state, the division of dependency exemption would most likely be considered to have terminated(it is an educated guess, you may want to speak to a very knowledgeable accountant or a tax lawyer)and if the father meets all other requirements to claim is daughter, he could. The fly in the ointment is and will remain the mother; if both parent claim the daughter, there might a review done by the IRS to see would is entitled to claim her; however, as the residential parent, there is a presumption that the father claims his daughter and he must execute a form to permit the mother to do so.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/6/2015
Polsinelli Shughart PC | William B. Prugh
See the IRS publication on dependent exemptions on the IRS web site at www.irs.gov to start. Then, contact a tax preparer. You may find that you need the services of a divorce attorney as well as a tax preparer in order to answer this question.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/6/2015
    John Russo | John Russo
    The short answer is you, this is a complicated argument to make, but simple if you are a divorce attorney with IRS code knowledge.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/6/2015
    Diane l. Berger | Diane L. Berger
    When a child is no longer a minor, the Decree no longer applies to that child.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/6/2015
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    When your daughter turned 18, she can decide who claims her.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/6/2015
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