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Is my divorce agreement specific enough to indefinitely exclude me from claiming my child as a dependent on my taxes?

Middleboro, MA |

We were divorced in 2004, at which time we signed an agreement for joint legal custody, I have physical custody, and have been the custodial parent since 2002. The only language in the agreement in regards to tax dependents is this one line: 'For tax purposes, Gregory Jr. shall be claimed as a dependent of Gregory Sr.' There is no other language at all specifically spelling out what year or years he would be allowed to claim him or that I agreed not to in the future. I understood it as just for that one tax year. I certainly wouldn't have forfeited that right for good. From what I understand, the agreement has to be "substantially similar to form 8332" to be considered. Can he succeed in his claim that I gave up my right indefinitely??

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Best answer

    It seems like your ex husband has the right to claim the exception until the Emancipation of the child. However, the judgement is old enough to warrant a review of the child support award and changes in circumstance. I would suggest that you approach your asked husband and ask for the exception to avoid going back into court for modification of the child support award. If he refuses file a complaint for modification during the course of th during the course of the action.

    This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.

  2. It sounds like you might have agreed to let your ex claim the child. You need to speak with your divorce attorney to determine that. Until then, I would sign the Form 8332 for you ex as specified by the agreement.

    However, you get to claim Head of Household, the EIC and and dependent care expenses. Your ex cannot claim these unless he has the child a greater number of days during the year. He is only allowed to take the dependent exemption and the Child Tax Credit.

    Christopher Larson
    Insight Law
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  3. Hi

    There may be other language in the agreement that may indirectly bear on this question and create argument to help you. If this is the only language, it does say that your ex-husband has the right to claim an exemption for the dependent child. It does not state that the exemption is limited. I agree that you should consider going back to court on support issues. You can try to use that process to re-open the dependent situation and negotiate a change to a different deopendent formula such as alternate years. Good luck.

    Steve Coren

    This answer does not consitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the facts presented. This answer is basd only on Massachusetts law.

  4. That is all the language that is needed.

    You can seek a modification, of course.

    Does this answer your question?

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  5. I agree with the previous responses. Of course it's hard to re-open a divorce case even just by contacting your "ex" and not going to court. But most importantly is that in preparing your income tax returns you get very good advice because I regularly see preparers miss the issues of "filing status" and other credits even if it ends up you cannot claim the child as a dependent. That's only one piece and filing status selection can be, in some circumstances, much more valuable to you.

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