Published on:

Fremont Divorce Attorney Discusses Tax Time and Family law

Fremont Divorce Attorney Discusses Tax Time and Family Law

It’s tax season again, and for families involved in the family law court system, one of the issues is nearly always who is going to claim the child on their taxes, better known as the dependency exemption. This is a separate issue from the filing status, where one parent files as Head of Household.

Normally, the parent with physical custody of a child for the greater portion of a tax year is entitled to claim the child as a dependent for tax purposes. However, the non-custodial parent may claim the child if the custodial parent agrees and signs a declaration (an IRS form) releasing the exemption to the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent must include this form with his taxes.

Many custodial parents release the exemption to the other parent, either in alternating years, or permanently for tax reasons which can lead to increased child support. If parents have joint physical custody of a child, and alternate claiming the child, it is best to have it clearly laid out in a written agreement which parent claims the child in which year (Mom gets even years, Dad gets odd years).

California law generally is similar to federal law in regards to how children are claimed as exemptions. There is one significant exception, and that is California has a joint head of household credit for parents with joint physical custody arrangements. Under federal law, the head of household status is only available to the parent with the child for the majority of physical time, and the status cannot be released to the other parent. It is a fact based determined, not a legal one which can be exchanged.

Here at Sagaria Law, we offer a full range of family law legal services, from divorce and property disputes to custody and visitation matters. We handle all types of family law actions, including adoptions, guardianships, parentage, dissolution and support. We have five Northern California locations including San Jose, Redwood City, Fremont, Salinas and Sacramento. We offer a free thirty minute consultation, either in person at any of our offices, or over the phone. Call our offices today to schedule your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys: (408) 279-2288 or (800) 941-6730 or visit