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Understanding tax exemptions following a divorce

At this time of year, it is understandable that people in Virginia and across the country have their thoughts turned to their taxes. As the filing date approaches, many people likely have multiple questions, especially if they chose to divorce and share custody of children. Who can claim the children as their dependents is often a question that many parents have.

Ultimately, a dependent can have a significant impact on taxes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made some changes to how dependents are treated, including increasing the Child Tax Credit to $2,000. As such, parents who are no longer in a romantic relationship may both want to declare their children as dependents.

However, only one parent is able to do so, though the IRS does not handle any disputes over who is entitled to seek the credit. Whoever files first will receive the credit while the return of the second person to claim the child as a dependent will be rejected. If no agreement is in place, there are certain criteria used to determine who is entitled to the credit, including looking at which parent has the highest income and who the child lives with most of the time.

Because both parents claiming the same children as a dependent can create complications, including who will do so in a divorce or separation agreement can be helpful. If the custodial parent is allowing the noncustodial parent claim the credit, a form granting permission must be completed. While issues such as taxes may seem relatively minor, failing to discuss them can ultimately lead to problems in the future. As such, many people in Virginia who have chosen to end their marriage often want an attorney on their side who can help them fully understand all the decisions that must be made and their potential implications.

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