Which Parent can Claim the Child on Tax Returns?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

 Which Parent can Claim the Child on Tax Returns?

The parent considered to be the child’s custodial parent is generally the parent who claims a child on his or her tax return. The custodial parent is the parent who has the majority of the child’s parenting time, even if the child’s parents have an almost equal amount of parenting time. If the parents have a truly 50/50 parenting time split, the parent with the higher adjusted gross income is often the one who claims the child as a dependent.

Only One Parent can Claim the Child as a Dependent

The parents cannot both claim the child as a dependent on their tax returns. Although the custodial parent is typically the one who can claim the child, the other parent may claim the child as a dependent if the custodial parent agrees to it. The non-custodial parent can also claim the child as a dependent if the parents wrote such an arrangement into their divorce settlement. If the non-custodial parent pays at least half of the child’s required financial support under Florida’s guidelines, he or she may claim the child as a dependent – the parents must work this out among themselves.

If the couple has multiple children, one parent does not have to claim all of them on his or her tax return. The parents can choose to split the children between themselves as dependents for tax purposes. Parents cannot split the child tax credit for an individual child.

Form 8332

A custodial parent can waive his or her right to claim the child as a dependent with Form 8332. This waiver is good for one tax year and can be rescinded at any time. When a parent uses this form to waive his or her right to claim the child or to claim the child as a dependent when he or she normally would not have this right, the parent must submit a copy of it with his or her tax return.

There are benefits to claiming a child as a dependent, such as the child tax credit. Talk to your accountant about these benefits and using Form 8332 this tax season. He or she can walk you through the nuances of the child tax credit and answer other questions you have.

Draper Law Office can Help you Navigate Family Law Issues

Contact our team of experienced family lawyers at Draper Law Office today to set up your free, no-obligation legal consultation with us. During your consultation, we can answer your questions about any issue related to child custody, child support, and navigating the world of co-parenting after a divorce. Schedule your consultation in one of our three convenient office locations today.


Get Your Case Evaluation Now



I wanted to thank the Draper Law firm for representing me in my recent personal injury case. It was truly a pleasure and honor to work with the firm, and I had a wonderful experience working with the staff, who was very friendly and courteous throughout the entire process.
The quality of legal service more than exceeded my expectations. The attorney answered all my questions, treated me with respect, and explained every detail - every step of the way. This was important to help me understand the process. In fact, I was made to feel like "part of the family" from the very first appointment.
I would definitely recommend the staff of attorneys at Draper Law Office to anyone who is seeking legal services, as I believe they, too, will have a great experience. In addition, should I ever need services again, Draper Law Office will be my first call.
Once again, I thank you and your staff for a wonderful and seamless experience; I would like others to also learn about it so they too can benefit from such great service.