How claiming children as dependents on taxes works post-divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 26, 2021 | Divorce |

When divorcing individuals in Illinois share children, their financial situation after divorce may get a bit complicated, particularly when it comes to taxes. For instance, who gets to claim certain child-related credits or deductions when tax time rolls around? Here is a rundown on how parents can effectively navigate tax filing season following a divorce. 

Claiming children on taxes following divorce 

As a general rule of thumb, the spouse who is given physical and legal custody of the shared children following divorce is the one who can claim the children as dependents on his or her taxes. This is based on the assumption that the children spend more time at this parent’s home versus the home of the noncustodial parent. Also, for the children to be claimed as dependents, they must be under 19 years old, be under 24 years old if they are full-time college students or be permanently disabled. In addition, the children must live with the parent more than 50% of the year. 

What happens, though, if two divorced parents decide to split custody in an equal manner? In this situation, the two parents could decide to take turns claiming their children as dependents on their respective tax returns. For instance, one party could do this on even years, whereas the other one does it on odd years. Alternatively, one parent could claim the same two children each year, and the other one could claim the other two children year after year, for example. 

How an attorney can help 

Figuring out how to handle financial issues during divorce can no doubt be overwhelming, especially when children are involved. However, an experienced Illinois attorney can help a divorcing individual to include clear guidelines regarding claiming a child as a dependent in the final divorce decree, for example. One’s attorney will ultimately push for an outcome that reflects his or her client’s best long-term interests.