Whose Child is This?

Today Christine from Sylvester, GA is being threatened by her ex-husband. “My daughter wanted to spend a year with her father, so I agreed she could go. In our divorce, I have full custody and he has visitation with child support (1993).

She was not happy there and came back home at the end of that year, November 2002. I have not signed any form giving him the right to claim her on his income taxes, and was under the assumption the whole time that he would not, since at the beginning of the year he said it didn’t help his tax situation anyway. (He has too much income to use a dependent.)

Now that I have filed my taxes, claiming her, he is wanting me to give him one half of my refund. He says if I don’t he will claim her on his taxes and I will be the one in trouble with the IRS. Can he do this?”


Hi Kristine,

Oh, sure, he can do anything. Will it be right?

I am not sure. The issue is more complex than you think.

Let me point you to some detailed discussions about this on TaxMama.com – you’ll find it in the FAQs http://www.taxmama.com/faq/faq2.html Scroll down to the Dependent and Child Care questions.

Here are the things for you to consider. Did he continue to pay you child support for the year while your daughter lived with him?

If he did, then, of course, share the some of the benefit with him. It will save a fight.

If he didn’t pay child support, then he got one heck of cash savings for the year, already. Suggest that he stop being so greedy.

As to your refund: Unless your entire refund was due to having a dependent or being head of household, I certainly wouldn’t give him half my refund. What utter nonsense!

Regardless, if he insists on filing and taking her as dependent, you will have to face a great deal of correspondence from IRS. It will be brutal. Know ALL the facts, I can’t tell you who will prevail. Even if you ultimately win, the process of establishing you’re entitled to her will be a nightmare.

So, try to find an equitable way to work this out between you.

Remember, this isn’t really about the money. It’s about getting back at you because your daughter rejected him.

Find a way to let him win on something. Use some finesse to let him save face and feel better.
Naturally, you’ll find answers to all kinds real estate & tax questions – and lots of tax resources – free, where? Where else? At TaxMama.com !

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