Who can claim children on their tax return and why? 4 Answers as of August 07, 2015

I was engaged to my fiance, who had two children of her own. The children's mother recently passed away and in the will I was determined to be the person who would take care of the children. I have been financially responsible for the childrens' needs since we got engaged. Now I am confused about who has the legal right to claim the children on their taxes me, or their biological father who is not involved in their lives. If a couple is divorced, is it legal for both parents to claim the children on separate tax claims? Also, can the father claim the children on his tax forms if he is not involved at all in raising or taking care of the children?

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Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Being named in a will as guardian of children is an honor but it has no legal or tax significance. Guardians are appointed by a judge. The only person who qualifies for the exemption is the person who's providing their support. ?That can be changed by the divorce decree but that is only between the two parents, since one of the parents has died, the divorce decree is no longer controlling. If you have provided all of the support for the year, then you get to claim the exemption.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/7/2015
Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
If you are providing a majority of their support and they are living with you, then you get to claim them. You sound like a wonderful person. Good luck with the kids.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/6/2015
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
I would need more information but generally if the father, even though he is not involved in raising them, is paying child support, Then me might be entitled to the tax exemptions. On the other hand if you were the one paying for 100% of their expenses you might have a claim. You should really see in attorney and get this matter legally straightened out is simply the boyfriend of the deceased mother does not give you any legal rights at all.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/6/2015
Polsinelli Shughart PC | William B. Prugh
The answer is not simple under current law. Start out by reading the IRS publication on dependent exemptions at the IRS web site at www.irs.gov. Then, consult a tax preparer for specific advice. While the divorce decree generally specifies who is entitled to the exemption, providing sufficient support for the child may also qualify.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/6/2015
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