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Child Dependency Credit – Who gets to claim it? How do you decide?

When the parents are separated or divorced, the dependency exemption for a dependent child is allocated pursuant to IRS Code 152 as follows:

(1) Automatically to the custodial parent, if the parents are sharing custody then it goes to the parent who has more than 50% of the custodial time, if:

(a) the parents lived apart for the last six months of the calendar year or are divorced, legally separated or separated pursuant to a written separation agreement;

(b) the child was in the custody of either of the parties for more than six months of the year;

(c) the parent paid over half of the child’s support for the year;

(d) the child is under the age of 19 on the last day of the year, or

(e) is a student who has not attained the age of 24 at the close of such calendar year.

(2) To the noncustodial parent if the custodial parent signs a written declaration (in such manner and form as the Secretary may prescribe) that the custodial parent will not claim such child as a dependent for such taxable year. (See IRS Form 8332.)