When there is a divorce, there are many changes that affect a couple’s finances. While many of those changes can be dealt with independently, there are certain financial matters during divorce that may require ex-spouses to work together. One area of the lives of divorced parents in Pennsylvania that requires some form of cooperation pertains to taxes.
When a couple separates and files taxes, only one party can claim dependent children on their tax return. Back in the days when custody agreements were pretty cut and dry, particularly when one parent would have the kids a large majority of the time, it was simpler to decide who should claim the children on a tax return. However, modern custody agreements are more fluid, and children spend time with each parent on a more equal footing. This can lead to disagreements about who has the right to claim the child or children.
There are ways to remedy this kind of disagreement come tax time. One idea is for parents to alternate who will claim the children as dependents for that year. Another novel idea can work for couples who have more than one child. One parent could claim one child as a dependent and the other parent could claim the other child.
Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decide the best way to deal with claiming a child as a dependent on taxes after a divorce. This kind of decision can be worked into a child custody agreement or settled each year, as the parents see fit and custody changes take place. Any Pennsylvania parent who is unclear how best to proceed with taxes may want to seek out advice and clearly communicate with their ex-spouse.
Source: The Huffington Post, Children of Divorce: Who Gets the Tax Exemption?, Stann Givens, March 3, 2014