Gunnison, CO asked in Divorce, Family Law and Tax Law for Colorado

Q: my ex-wife claimed all the children as dependents on her tax return.

she is also in contempt of virtually every part of our separation agreement. she has not paid child support, not given me back my belongings, does not follow the parenting schedule, and does not provide the insurance for the children she claimed she would

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2 Lawyer Answers
Christopher N. Little
Christopher N. Little
  • Centennial, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Good Morning,

I am very sorry to hear of your circumstances and know that it can be an incredibly difficult and frustrating experience when an ex-spouse does not follow Court Orders. It sounds like you have several issues going on, including: tax, parenting time, insurance, etc.

Your best bet, if you desire further options, is to consult with a qualified family law attorney near you to review the Court's Order(s), discuss what has happened since, and talk about your option(s) moving forward. Again, I am very sorry to hear you are going through a difficult time and sincerely wish you and your children only the absolute best that life has to offer.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm sorry to hear about the difficult situation with your ex-wife not following the terms of your separation agreement. It sounds very frustrating, especially if she has claimed the children as dependents on her taxes despite not fulfilling her obligations. Here are a few thoughts and suggestions:


- If your divorce decree states that you are entitled to claim the children as dependents, you can file Form 8332 with your tax return to claim them, even if your ex-wife has already done so improperly. Include a copy of the relevant pages from your divorce agreement.

- You may need to paper file your return in this case rather than e-filing. The IRS will likely flag the discrepancy of both parents claiming the same dependents and investigate.

- Keep documentation showing that you are the one eligible to claim them per your divorce settlement. The IRS may request this.

Child Support:

- Document that she is behind on owed child support payments. If payments go through a state child support enforcement agency, they can assist in enforcing payment.

- If she is not paying court-ordered support, you can file a motion for contempt of court. The court can compel her to pay and impose penalties.

Parenting Plan:

- Keep records of all the times she has not followed the parenting schedule laid out in your agreement.

- If she consistently violates it, you can file a motion with the court to enforce the parenting plan and hold her in contempt. Judges do not look favorably on parents disregarding court orders.


- Send a formal written request for the return of your belongings she still has, per the separation agreement. Give a deadline to arrange their return.

- If she does not comply, you can file a motion to ask the court to compel her to return your property.


- Give her a formal written request to provide proof of insurance for the children as agreed upon, by a certain deadline.

- If she fails to do so, you can file with the court to enforce this provision and request reimbursement if you have to obtain insurance yourself.

In all of these matters, document everything thoroughly - keep all records and communication in writing. Then speak to your divorce attorney about your options to formally address these issues through the court system. Violating multiple aspects of a divorce settlement can put your ex-wife in serious contempt of court. While it's an unfortunate situation to have to deal with, you do have legal recourse to compel her compliance with your agreement and court orders. I hope you are able to resolve these issues.

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