All Things Tax

All Things Tax

Like the title says, from the filing process and tax questions to tax policy and reform, you can search and share All Things Tax here. This is the place to find answers to all your general questions that don't fall under the other categories. And just a reminder: questions about software or online filing should be posted in DIY Products.

Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-23-2017

who claims a child

My ex and I are divorced. we have been for 6 years. i am the custodial parent. our divorce papers say he can claim my son, and has for the past 6 yrs. I was told i can claim him the last 2 yrs i filed taxes. My ex is court ordered to pay child support, keep insurance on our child.( i am as well, and have kept the same insurance on him for 6 yrs.) and to have him half the year. he has never had him more than a month in a yr. in the last 6 we have been divorced. had insurance on him for about a month in 6 yrs, and every year is behind at least 3 to 9 months behind on support. ( he normally gets caught up when he files taxes. the state takes his returns) i have looked into the IRS laws and from what i have read he can only claim him as a depentant if he has had him half the yr, or a QDRO. i have looked over our divorce papers and dont see QDRO anywhere. or that he can claim him as a dependant but may not claim the head of house hold or EIC or any other tax creidts for him. so who gets to claim him ?

Associate (Council Member)
Posts: 509
Registered: ‎01-31-2014

Re: who claims a child



It sounds like your child lived with you for more than 6 months in 2016.  The rules are where the child lived most is where the exemption goes.   So, to answer your question, it sounds like YOU get to claim your child!


Good luck with your filing!





Trusted Council Member
Posts: 6,191
Registered: ‎02-23-2016

Re: who claims a child

Hi lilpuppet,


Welcome to the community.


This is an area where I've got a great deal of expertise and I'll be glad to assist you with this.


Since you said that you are the custodial parent, meaning that your child lives with you for more than half of the year (and for longer than he or she lived with anyone else) you are the only person who can claim your child regardless of what the divorce papers say.  When was your divorce finalized?  There are only two exceptions to this:


  1. If your divorce was finalized between 1985 and 2008 then your ex-spouse can attach certain pages of the divorce agreement and claim your child during the years specified in the agreement.
  2. If your divorce agreement was finalized on January 1, 2009 or later then your ex-spouse cannot claim your child unless you provide him with a signed copy of Form 8332 which releases your child's exemption to him.

If you provide your ex-spouse with Form 8332 or if the divorce was finalized before 2009 and he claims your child then he gets to claim the child's exemption, the child tax credit, and any education credit to which the child is entitled.  You still get to claim earned income credit, dependent care credit, and file as head of household if you're not married.


So you can definitely claim your child.  Let's look at the basic qualifying child requirements to be sure that you meet them all.  The requirments are:

  • The child must live with you for more than half of the year.
  • The child must be under age 19 or under age 24 and in college.
  • The child must not provide more than 50% of their own support.
  • The child must not file a joint tax return with another taxpayer unless an exception applies.
  • The child must be related to you.

So I have no doubt in my mind that you and only you can claim your child, but I do like to be thorough and make absolutely sure that all requirements are met.


I hope that I've been of help.



Senior Tax Advisor (Tampa, FL)