The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated the ability to declare child support payments as a personal exemption. If you require tax credits, you may negotiate a shared parenting arrangement so that you could claim your child as a dependent.
To claim a dependent, your child must reside with you for at least six months out of the year. Both parents may then receive a tax break for paying a child’s medical expenses, health savings account and interest on education, as reported by MarketWatch. Only the amount each parent pays separately applies on an income tax form.
Even if you have custody for half of the year, your ex-spouse must provide a written declaration that allows you to claim your children as dependents. To avoid complications, you may wish to include the tax-break arrangement in your divorce decree.
Shared or “joint” child custody requires thorough planning to ensure meeting all your family members’ needs. The court typically awards custody to a parent who provides children with a home, education and medical care. The noncustodial parent has visitation rights for spending time with the kids. If you plan to claim your children as dependents, however, your visiting schedule should cover six months.
Shared custody arrangement
After deciding who will become the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent, you could include a shared custody schedule as part of your divorce decree. For example, a judge’s order outlines which six months out of the year your children will reside with you, and when they will reside with your ex-spouse.
If your work requires travel, you may agree on having your children reside with your ex during your time away. Your shared parenting schedule could also include important events, holidays and birthdays that you would like to spend with your children.