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Child of Divorced Parents

Who Can Claim Tax Exemption for Dependents

In most cases, because of the residency test for qualifying child, a child of divorced or separated parents is the qualifying child of the custodial parent.

However, a child will be treated as the qualifying child of his or her noncustodial parent is all of the following apply.

  1. The parents:
    • are divorced or legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance
    • are separated under a written separation agreement or
    • lived apart at all times during the last 6 months of the year
  2. The child received over half of his or her support for the year from the parents
  3. The child is in the custody of one or both parents for more than half the year
  4. A decree of divorce or separate maintenance or written separation agreement that applies to the tax year provides that:
    • the noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent
    • (and, in the case of a pre-1985 agreement, the noncustodial parent provides at least $600 for the support of the child during the year) or
    • the custodial parent signs a written declaration (such as the tax form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents) that he or she will not claim the child as a dependent for the year.

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