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Agreeing on Both Dependency Exemptions: How Both Parents Can Benefit on Their Taxes

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It's a common myth that a noncustodial parent can't claim taxes on their own child(ren). It's an understandable myth, though, as it's commonly held under federal tax law and divorce law that the custodial parent is permitted to claim that dependency exemption for all children applicable on the income tax return. It's not, however, known that even the noncustodial parent can also benefit from this exemption.

Just because the law allows the custodial parent that right doesn't mean the other parent can't be allowed to have it as well. Under divorce law, it is something that has to be agreed upon implicitly and then communicated to the court unless state law says otherwise. Realistically, two parties about to divorce can determine their terms as they see fit, and the court will simply ensure that an agreement has been made safely and equitably. If both parents wish to "share" the dependency exemption regardless of who has physical custody or not, they can.

It is, in fact, recommended. However, as I've mentioned already – there has to be an agreement. One spouse may disagree, and then you're headed toward deliberation mode in the divorce courtroom to figure out if there's a compromise. It's always best to try and come up with an equitable solution, especially regarding divorce cases, though.

Take note: both parents can technically save on their taxes regardless of which parent the child(ren) lives with. It may be something you can discuss with your soon-to-be ex. Be professional. Be candid. Be non-emotional if necessary. In the end, this is all about the children, not you. At the very least, you can show that it is possible to agree on equitable grounds with fairness and equality. That's all the law could ever ask for.