As tax season mercifully comes to a close, many couples that divorced in 2013 have or are putting the finishing touches on their first return since separating. One of the main questions asked in this scenario is: who gets the child exemption? While most of the time the answer is straightforward (the one who got custody), there are some exceptions and creative ways of working around this.
Back when the mothers routinely got custody of the children, it was pretty basic. Whomever the child or children stayed the most nights with won the tax exemption (FYI: The other parent is referred to as the noncustodial parent). But with more women already working and different dynamics at home, sometimes there are different ways of dividing the exemption.
—Just give it up If, as part of your divorce agreement, you allow the noncustodial parent to receive the exemption, the IRS will allow it.
—Alternate Some divorced parents take odd/even years off for the noncustodial parent to also claim the exemption. This also works for exes who have multiple children, either splitting or alternating them.
There are specific forms for both these routes, and sometimes more particular ones depending on situation or year divorced.
Whatever route you choose, remember that it's best to consult with a tax and divorce lawyer to make sure you both get everything that's coming to you, and avoid bad things that might.
For more: Children of Divorce: Who Gets the Tax Exemption? (Huffington Post)