Dependent Exemptions

Attorneys Well-Versed in Dependent Exemptions

Helping you determine if you can claim your child on your taxes

Many clients are confused regarding how dependency exemptions may be claimed for income tax purposes.

Parents receiving child support often assume they can claim the exemption, while parents who pay child support believe they are entitled to the exemption. Federal law states that custodial parents are entitled to claim the dependent exemptions unless they sign a written statement that they are not going to claim the exemption. In other words, if your divorce or Custody Judgment (now known as Allocation Judgment) is silent on the issue, the custodial parent is automatically entitled to claim the dependent exemptions because there is no signed waiver. However, many judgments incorporate settlement agreements assigning the exemption in some (or all) years to the non-custodial parent, and this is proper and acceptable for the IRS. In order to avoid a dispute in the future, it is best to make sure your Judgment addresses who can claim your children and when.

Illinois courts can also order a custodial parent to sign a declaration that they are not going to claim the dependent exemptions and thus effectively assign it to the non-custodial parent. These determinations are subject to the appeals process.

The dependent exemptions are often raised in divorce settlement negotiations. How much is it worth to each party? That, of course, depends. One way to determine its value in “hard numbers” is to ask your accountant or Cook County divorce lawyer (if the attorney has the right tax software program) to calculate the value for each party based upon their respective incomes.

Let an experienced attorney help you determine what’s best for your family

Email our divorce attorneys at M. Scott Gordon & Associates or call our Chicago office at  312.360.0250 or our Skokie office at  847.329.0101 .

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