Can You Claim the Child Tax Credit After Divorce?

In a prior post, we highlighted the possible defenses a spouse could raise in the event their former spouse is charged with tax fraud or tax evasion during the years the parties were married. Indeed, these are important issues to consider, but the reality is that many former spouses won’t have to deal with federal prosecutors on tax issues. Instead, they will likely have questions about which parent may claim a child on their federal tax return for the Child Tax Credit.

This post will provide some insight.

Normally, a party’s divorce decree will specify when (or whether) a parent may claim the credit. But in the event, the order is not clear, or changes have been made that have not been ratified in the order, there are several factors that can help parents determine if they are able to claim the Child Tax Credit. They include:

– Whether your child has lived with you for six months or more

– Whether the child has filed another tax return with someone else

– Whether you have provided more than half the child’s financial support during the year

– Whether the child is under age 18, or made less than $2800 if older and a student

In light of these factors, parents may still have issues dealing with the IRS. If the non-custodial parent files first and claims the child, the custodial parent may have additional paperwork to file with the IRS to prove that the other parent’s claim was unjustified.