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Which gets the tax exemption for children after a divorce?

Tax day is less than a month away. New Jersey residents who are divorced with children will need to figure out which parent gets to claim the tax exemption. Unless the parents agree otherwise, under IRS rules the parent who is the custodial parent gets the tax exemption for the minor children.

If the parents reach an agreement for the noncustodial parent to claim the dependent child exemption, the IRS will honor that agreement. Many times parents switch years on who gets the exemption, with one parent getting the odd year and the other parent the even year. And if there is more than one child involved, one parent may claim some and the other parent may claim the others.

Parents who were divorced before 2008 need to attach their divorce court order to their tax return to claim the exemption. Those who were divorced in 2008 or later need to have the parent who is not claiming the exemption fill out IRS form 8332, which lists the children who are claimed by the other spouse.

Divorce legal issues can affect every area of a person's life including their income tax situation. Knowing the laws regarding tax exemptions can help a person keep their tax bill low. Families who are dealing with this or other issues relating to divorce may want to consult with a family law attorney. An experienced divorce attorney can not only represent a spouse in the divorce proceeding itself, but can provide important advice regarding child support, spousal support, property division and tax issues.

Source: Huffington Post, "Children of divorce: Who gets the tax exemption?," Stann Givens, March 13, 2014

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