As the tax filing season approaches, a common question amongst couples who are considering a separation or are currently in the process of divorcing centers around how to resolve who will be claiming the parties’ children as dependency exemptions on their income tax returns. Another related question that often arises is who will be claiming head of household.
Parties can agree upon a myriad of ways to resolve how to determine which party will claim the parties’ children as dependency exemptions on their income tax returns in certain years. In matters where parties agree to have joint custody of their children, the parties either alternate claiming the children every other year, or if there is an even number of children, each party will claim the same number of children each year as their dependents (i.e. if the parties have four children, each will claim two). If the parties’ have an odd number of children, by way of example three children, each may claim one child every year and alternate the third child. This is an issue that should be discussed when considering a separation from your spouse or if you are currently in the process of a divorce.
The party who is the custodial parent is permitted to file as head of household on their income tax returns. A question arises when parties are sharing 50/50 custody of their children. If the parties agree to alternate claiming their children as dependency exemptions, the year in which one party is claiming the children they can be designated to have 183 overnights, instead of 182 overnights, with the children in that year so that they would be permitted to file as head of household. This is also an issue that should be discussed when considering a separation or if you are currently in the process of a divorce.
Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC is an Annapolis-based family law firm serving clients throughout the state of Maryland. If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, please contact our firm to reserve a consultation time at our office.