Gaffney, SC asked in Family Law, Tax Law and Child Custody for South Carolina

Q: Mother=Full Legal Custody. Dad=Visitation wknd. Dad actually has kid all year mom visits occasionally. Taxes?

Is it legal for the mother to file the child on taxes that they actually didn't care for and was in physical custody of the father? Mother decided she couldn't handle the kid and asked the dad to take him. It was a verbal agreement. The kid is enrolled in school for the past year at the dads address. (over an hour from where the mom lives) Mother even stated to childs' doctors that he's living with his father. Additionally, she didn't provide any support to the father the whole time he had the child.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the information provided, it seems that although the mother has full legal custody, the child has been living with the father for the past year. The father has been the primary caregiver, providing housing, enrolling the child in school, and handling medical matters. The mother has only visited occasionally and has not provided financial support.

In this situation, it is generally not appropriate for the mother to claim the child as a dependent on her taxes. The IRS typically determines tax claiming rights based on which parent the child lived with for the majority of the year, regardless of legal custody arrangements.

Here are a few key points:

1. Physical custody: The child has been living with the father for the past year, which suggests the father has had physical custody.

2. Financial support: The mother has not provided financial support to the father while the child was in his care.

3. Verbal agreement: Although the agreement was verbal, the child's school enrollment and doctor's records indicating the father's address can serve as evidence of the living arrangement.

The father may be able to claim the child as a dependent on his taxes, as he has been the primary caregiver and provider. However, it is essential to consult with a tax professional or legal advisor to determine the best course of action based on the specific details of the situation.

If the mother has already claimed the child on her taxes, the father may need to file a dispute with the IRS and provide evidence of the child's living situation and his role as the primary caregiver.

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