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Does a self-supportive, non-custodial teenage father have the right to claim his child as a dependent on his taxes?

Orlando, FL |

18-year-old fathered a child out of wedlock. He is 100% self-supportive; his dad is incarcerated & he was abandoned by his mom. Mother of infant is in high school & lives with her mom. Grandmother requires baby's father to pay for ALL infant-related expenses, ie food, formula, diapers, daily childcare etc. He works two+ jobs to pay all expenses. There is no court-ordered child support. Mom/grandmother live in a house paid for by a third party so they have no rent/mortgage. Grandma pays household utilities. Does the baby's residency trump the father's parental rights with the IRS & allow grandmother to claim infant as a dependent? Can dad not benefit from the child tax credit & recoup some of the child care/support expenses since he is financially supporting the child per grandma's demands?

Attorney Answers 1


  1. The grandmother will still be entitled to the claim because the child lives with her (there is a residency requirement). If she is willing to let the father claim the child, she can fill out an IRS form 8332. The rule is that to be claimed as a qualifying child, the person must meet four criteria:

    Relationship — the person must be your child, step child, adopted child, foster child, brother or sister, or a descendant of one of these (for example, a grandchild or nephew).

    Residence — for more than half the year, the person must have the same residence as you do.

    Age — the person must be

    * under age 19 at the end of the year, or
    * under age 24 and a be a full-time student for at least five months out of the year, or
    * any age and totally and permanently disabled.

    Support — the person did not provide more than half of his or her own support during the year.

    THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.