There are often numerous decisions upon which divorcing parents need to agree. If agreements are not made, then a family court judge will made the decisions. One of the most contentious decisions in many divorces is determining which parent will claim the child/children for the dependent exemption on his or her tax return each year.
This argument can and does occur, even between parents in situations where one parent is the custodial parent who the child primarily resides with and the other is the noncustodial parent. Although the custodial parent may feel that he or she is entitled to the exemption because the child is with him or her the majority of the time, the noncustodial parent may feel that he or she is entitled to the exemption because of the amount of child support payments he or she makes each month.
Depending on the situation, the judge may grant the dependent exemption exclusively to either the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent. The judge may also decide that each parent will get the exemption on alternating years. Whatever the judge’s decision, if at any time the noncustodial parent is allowed to take the exemption, he or she must include form 8332 with his or her tax return. This form must be signed by the custodial parent.
The IRS considers form 8332 a release by the custodial parent in claiming the child as a dependent. The form must either be signed and included each year by the noncustodial parent, or the custodial parent can fill out the release granting the release for future years, as well. The custodial parent does have the option of canceling that release.
There are two issues which can arise regarding this form that often leaves the parent with no recourse with the IRS, but instead requires a trip back to family court. If a custodial parent refuses to sign the form, then the noncustodial parent cannot take the exemption, even though he or she has a court order allowing him or her to do so. The IRS will not accept anything other than form 8332.
Another serious issue which sometimes occurs is when the noncustodial parent attaches form 8332 which says that the release is for future years; however, the custodial parent never signed that part of the form. Not only does the noncustodial parent face consequences with the family court, but if it turns out the document was forged, the parent could also face tax fraud.
If you are having issues regarding dependency exemptions with your ex-spouse, or any other family law problems, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule your consultation.