If my wife have joint custody and split physical custody 50/50. I pay child support because I have higher gross income. It is my understanding according to the IRS that I get to write my son off on my taxes, is that correct? We live in CA.
Who is listed as claiming the child on the DissoMaster? Were you given the deduction in the calculation? If so, then your support is based upon that deduction and you are entitled to claim it. If SHE was given the deduction and your support is based upon that, then she is entitled to claim the deduction. If you look at the DissoMaster, which is what is generally used to set child support, the center column that says, Mother and Father, or your names in the columns, under that is the number of children, under that is the % of time, then # of federal exemptions. If the exemption was in YOUR column, you get to claim the children.
Please be aware that any comments that I have made are preliminary and tentative and not based upon a thorough analysis of your case. I would need additional information and to review the exact documentation to be sure of the above advice. The answer above does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not require me to answer any future questions.
The IRS has written extensive regulations on this subject, all available at www.irs.gov. As a general rule the parent with whom the child lives for a greater period of time has the right to claim (not write off) a dependent unless an order out of state court awards the right to claim to the other parent. For clarity it is preferable for the child support order to specify the award. Although the official child support guidelines vary from state to state, and some states such as my own state a preference for awarding the right to the higher income parent, it is common for the other parent to be entitled to some reimbursement for part of the value of the dependency exemption and child tax credit, if any.
Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.
This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
There are two issues here. One is who gets to take the dependent deduction and the other is who gets to claim single head of household. Only one parent can claim the dependent deduction. In your case, that will be the parent who has had the majority of the overnights for the tax year. Single head of household is similar. Call us to discuss when and how both of you may claim single head of household.
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