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Category: Claiming Dependents

Children of divorced or separated parents

In most cases, a child of divorced or separated parents is the qualifying child of the custodial parent. However, the child will be treated as the qualifying child of the noncustodial parent if all 4 of the following are true:

  1. The parents (only one need apply):
    • Are divorced or legally separated under a decree of divorce;
    • Are separated under a written separation agreement; -OR-
    • Lived apart at all times during the last 6 months of the year
  2. The child received over half of his or her support for the year from the parents.
  3. The child is in the custody of at least one parent for more than half of the year.
  4. The custodial parent signs a written declaration that he or she will not claim the child as a dependent. Generally, this declaration is IRS Form 8332 and is included in the noncustodial parents return. For more information on this form, Click here. To view this form and its instructions, click here.

Definitions of "custodial" and "noncustodial" parents:

The "custodial" parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater part of the year. The other parent is the noncustodial parent.

If the parents divorced or separated during the year, and the child lived with both parents before the separation, the custodial parent is the one with whom the child lived for the greater part of the rest of the year.