Eagle Mountain, UT asked in Tax Law, Divorce and Family Law for Utah

Q: How should my children be claimed each year on tax forms with my ex.

I have 2 children under 18 and one adult completely disabled child (21) for whom I provide the majority of support. My ex thinks we should be taking turns each year claiming either the disabled child or both minor children. It is my contention that we should be splitting the two minor children and that I should be able to claim Lydia as a dependent since I provide nearly all her support and he doesn't pay any child support for her. What does the law say?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mike Branum
Mike Branum
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: There is no "law" on this issue. It is a matter of what the parties agreed to at the time of divorce. Your decree should indicate how the children would be claimed on taxes. If there is no provision for child support for the adult child, then you would be entitled to claim the adult child where she resides with you. Normally minor children are split equally between the parties, so you would claim one and he would claim one until there is only one child and then you would alternate years. Again, this is normally spelled out in the Decree (father will claim child in even years, mother will claim child in odd years, or some similar language).

If tax deductions were not addressed at the time of your divorce, the two of you either need to have a written agreement or you need to file to have the decree modified. It sounds like you will be taking care of the oldest child for the rest of your life, you should consult with a family law attorney and get this matter settled so it does not come up every year at tax time.

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