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Children and tax matters following a divorce

There is no doubt that a divorce can result in challenging financial circumstances for many Pennsylvania parents. The individual who owes support may find that their budget is tight, which might make the ability to deduct support a huge help. However, this is not permitted for child support. The parent who receives child support does not need to report it on an income tax return, but alimony must be reported as income by the recipient and is also deductible by the payer.

Parents may find that custody matters and child support obligations can complicate their federal tax returns in other ways. Although child support does not impact one's taxes owed, a parent who provides more than half of a child's support might presume that they are entitled to claim that child as a dependent, which can reduce their taxes due. This is not necessarily the case, especially if the party providing a greater portion of the support is not the custodial parent. If the non-custodial parent wants to claim a child for deduction and tax credit purposes, there must be an IRS Form 8332 signed by both parties and attached to that parent's return.

If a parent finds that the other party would not benefit from claiming the child even when they are entitled to do so, they might request that the right to claim the child be transferred to them. If parents handle these issues prior to the conclusion of a divorce, the information can be recorded in a divorce decree to avoid future legal entanglements.

Issues such as failing to pay child support or refusing to make a child available for court-ordered visitation cannot be used as justification for claiming a child when the right has not been assigned. An individual who wants to address the other parent's disobedience of a court order may want to have the assistance of an attorney when doing so.

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