Child custody and tax time: What do they have in common?

Maryland parents who divorced this year have likely faced numerous challenges regarding new parenting plans and lifestyle changes. Child custody issues often continue to arise long after divorce is finalized. Many adults, who also happen to be divorced parents, are also currently facing challenges associated with their federal income taxes. The two issues (child custody and taxes) often collide when questions surface regarding which parent gets to claim the children as dependents.

Especially in shared custody situations, disagreements surrounding tax issues are not uncommon. Federal law is fairly explicit when it comes to whom can be claimed as a dependent on someone's tax returns. For instance, to claim as a child as a dependent, there are four key determining factors that must be met.

The child in question must be under age 19. The child must also be related to the filer of the tax return by birth, adoption or a foster care arrangement (siblings, step-siblings or children thereof may also qualify). A crucial component is that the child being claimed must have resided in the household for six or more months. There are exceptions for babies born within a tax year or children who have died.

If tax questions have arisen during child custody disagreements, answers can be sought by consulting with an experienced Maryland family law attorney. As an advocate, a main goal of an attorney is always to protect a client's best interests and those of any and all children involved. Often, confusion and stress regarding financial matters in divorce can be alleviated through experienced counsel and effective representation.

Source: finance.yahoo.com, "Claiming dependents on taxes: A How-to Guide", Kay Bell, March 3, 2017