Taxes, Divorce, and Minor Children: What You Need to Know

child custody attorneysAs tax season fast approaches, we thought this would be a great opportunity to go over custodial arrangements of minor children, and how this affects your dependency exemptions. Family law and the tax code are complex affairs, so remember that this is just a quick and general overview. For more detailed answers, we invite you to call us at Rubin & Levavi, P.C. to speak with one of our skilled California family law and divorce attorneys.

Custodial Arrangements Inform Exemption Claims

Generally speaking, the type of custodial arrangements that you have established will inform how you proceed to do your dependency exemptions. For example, in cases where parents share custody of their children equally, many opt to simply divide the number of children and claim their “share” of the family on each respective return. If there is only one child in the mix, many parents simply alternate who gets to make the exemption claim each year, leading do a mutually-beneficial arrangement.

If you and your ex-spouse are unable to come to an agreement in your case, the courts will step in to make arrangements on your behalf as per family law guidelines. In regards to exemption claims, the courts will usually grant them to the parent who has custody of the children for over 50% of the time. As expected, courts are not very flexible and accommodating when establishing these and other terms, which is why we always recommend working with your ex-spouse to try and reach a favorable arrangement that works for all involved parties.

The one thing you should avoid doing at all costs is proceeding to claim a minor child as a dependency exemption without first clearing it with the other parent. When both parents claim the same child, this usually triggers an audit, which is the last thing that you need while working through your divorce proceedings and other family law matters.

For more involved guidance, be sure to reach out to a qualified divorce and family law attorney in California. Call our offices at (415) 564-2776 to learn more about how we can help, and to schedule a free initial consultation.