If parents have joint physical custody, can both claim the children as dependents?

By Erin McGaughey
January 12, 2016

That is pursuant to IRS regulations. Only one parent is able to claim the child as a dependent. It's generally the parent who has more than 50% of the custody in every given year. The parents, however, can agree to alternate who claims the child as the dependent if they share 50/50 custody. Or, depending on the income levels of the parents, they can agree that one parent who has the child more than 50% of the time releases the exemption to the other parent. That's a question that is best suited for the party's accountants to figure out if there is going to be a major tax benefit in that reallocation.


Partner at McGaughey & Spirito, California family lawyer Erin McGaughey handles complex divorce cases that involve child custody issues, financial issues, and business interests.

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January 12, 2016
Categories:  Child Custody|FAQs

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