Custodial Parent

Today TaxMama® hears from Dok0619 in the TaxQuips Forum with the eternal problem. “I am separated from my wife and she has our two kids. She left August of 2012. In November our lawyers made a temporary custody agreement for us and I have been voluntarily paying her child support until we finally go to court. It was signed by a judge in December. She says that I cannot claim our kids on my return because she is the “custodial parent” (I have filed for divorce and also filed for custody of our kids.) My question is, can I still claim my children for the 8 months of 2012 that we still lived together or not at all like she says?”


Dear Dok,

This year, your wife will have been the custodial parent for the whole year.
Most likely, if it comes down to a fight, she would win in 2013 unless you get custody.

Last year in 2012, the children lived in your home for more than half the year.
You have a valid claim for 2012.

However, the fight can be costly and is guaranteed to get the IRS and state tax agencies involved. Clear this up in advance – before either of you file a tax return.  Have your wife sign a Form 8332, giving up her right to claim the children for 2012.

Even if she does not, you would still be entitled to claim head of household status for 2012. And if you don’t both claim the same credits, you might be entitled to some of those. Sort them out.

You can get more information on other tax-related divorce issues in this course, here.
Believe me this will be a good investment of two hours of your time.
And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about child custody and other tax and business issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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