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Who Can Legally Claim a Child as A Dependent When Filing Taxes in Illinois?

Posted by Dominick R. Dolci | Mar 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Financial concerns and child custody are oftentimes two of the biggest sources of frustration and contention in an Illinois divorce. The frustration can easily become twofold when the two are combined and tax season rolls around.

In a non-divorced household, parents are able to claim their children as depends while filing taxes, and share the dependency exemption. After a divorce, however, only one parent is able to claim a child as a dependent when filing for taxes. As you may expect, the ability to claim a child as a dependent can quickly become a major source of contention, both due to the financial and parental reasons. 

What Does the IRS Say? 

By default, the IRS states that the right to claim a child as a dependent belongs to the custodial parent in a divorce. Furthermore, the custodial parent is defined by the IRS as the parent who lives with the child for the greater amount of nights per years. 

How Does the IRS's Rule Apply to Illinois Divorces?

In recent years, the state of Illinois has retired the legal terms of ‘child custody' or ‘custodial parent', in favor of ‘parenting time.' This terminology differs from the IRS's rules. However, in most divorce cases, the IRS's rules will still be held applicable as a guideline when determining who will claim a child as a dependent when filing taxes. 

Are There Exceptions to This Guideline? 

In general, there are two circumstances in which a non-custodial parent may claim a child as a dependent while filing for taxes: 

  1. If there is a prior agreement in place which states that there are years in which the non-custodial parent may claim the dependency exemption
  2. If the custodial parent relinquishes the exemption by filing IRS Form 8332. 

How Can These Laws Affect Me? 

Whether you are considered a custodial parent or non-custodial parent under IRS guidelines, the dependency exemption may be of great importance to you, from both a parental and financial standpoint. 

If you are in the process of negotiating allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, or child support in Illinois, the dependency exemption is definitely something you may want to take into consideration and take the time to plan out. Take the time to sit down with a family law attorney to discuss your family law case and analyze your options. 

Facing an Illinois Parenting Time, Child Support, or Divorce Case? Contact Family Law Attorneys Today

Whether you are looking to file a family law case, in the middle of a pending case, or still in the early stages of consideration, it's never a wrong time to consult with a family law attorney and discuss your legal options. To schedule a free consultation, contact our law office at (630) 261-9098.

About the Author

Dominick R. Dolci

Managing Partner Dominick R. Dolci focuses his practice on criminal defense litigation and civil litigation. Dom graduated from John Marshall law school in 1990. He began his legal training in the Cook County States Attorneys Office where he worked at 26th and California. He then transferred ...


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