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Can my ex and I both claim our child as a dependent?

If you are recently divorced, and custody decisions have been made, you may have filed taxes for the first time in a long time without your spouse, and you may have lingering questions as to the accuracy of your refund.

Are you head of household now and do you still get child tax credits? Is your child still considered your dependent? After all, this is your child and you either have custody, or you are paying a substantial sum in child support. If both parents claim the child or children as dependents, will there be an issue?

The reality is, whoever is the custodial parent typically retains the right to file the child as the dependent and no one else should. This is because the custodial parent with the conservatorship is generally thought to have greater than 50 percent of the child's time. If the custodial parent is not going to claim the child as a dependent, then the other parent may prove they have met certain conditions, which would justify their filing the child as a dependent for taxation purposes. If the custodial parent does agree to sign a release for the sake of exemption, the other spouse may claim the child and for a time, the custodial parent will no longer be able to.

If you have questions regarding a family law matter, a Texas family law attorney may be able to offer invaluable guidance. It pays not to make assumptions, and taxes can be very confusing if you don't have your family law affairs in order.

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