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Determining Dependent Exemptions after Divorce

There will lengthy and extensive discussions since there are many details that need to be ironed out during a divorce. If both parties are aggressive and the divorce is not a mutual decision, it can be stressful.

The main points of the divorce are usually the first to be settled. Custody, division of property, child support, and alimony are definite points of contention. However, there are some minor details that are worthy of attention.

It is worthwhile to know who should be able to claim the tax exemption for the dependents.

Tax Exemption Basics

The basic principle is that the more dependents you have, the fewer taxes you pay. Thus, it should also be a significant factor. 

If we were to estimate the worth of the child dependency exemption, the amount would be close to 4,000 US$, per year. For most people getting divorced, they would rather concentrate on the property, but if they were aware of this value, they would also take notice.

This is because a child can only be claimed as dependent on one tax return every year, so during a divorce, if both parents would be forced to work, only one can get the benefit.

In many cases, the custodial parent—the parent with whom the child has stayed longer, would also be given the benefit of the tax exemption. However, this is not set in stone and the non-custodial parent could also get the claim.


The better divorce lawyers would tell you that everything can be negotiated in a divorce and that everything is worth fighting for. 

The exemption claim can be negotiated. In some cases, one parent can propose to concede a piece of property (which they should technically be sharing) in exchange for the rights to claim the dependent. If one considers the aforementioned monetary value, then it could be added motivation. 

The tax exemption could mean more to one side than the other, so there could be more interests involved. There could also be a time-sharing arrangement wherein the parents could alternate the years when they would claim the dependency. For example, the father would claim during the odd years, and the mother would claim for the even years. 

If you have more than one child, then you can also divide their claims. The father can claim the eldest and the mother can have the other children. 

The court allows these terms as long as the conditions are clearly stated and enforceable.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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