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Can My Ex Claim Our Child on Taxes?






In one version or another, we hear this question often. Other forms of this question, which ultimately mean the same thing are:


  • Can I claim the tax exemption for my kids?
  • I pay child support, so can I claim my kids as dependents on my tax return?
  • Is the Mother of my children allowed to claim my kids on taxes if I pay her child support?
  • Do I have to be paying child support through the county in order to claim my kids for taxes?
  • I am on the birth certificate for my daughter (or son), so can I claim them as dependents on taxes?
  • Who does the IRS allow to claim the child as a dependent on tax returns (or tax forms)?

The answers to this question (FOR OHIO PARENTS ONLY) can be complicated, but I will try to make it as simple as possible.

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FIRST: Were the parents of the child ever married?  For Ohio never married parents, unless a father has gone to COURT to get his parental rights the mother has the right to claim the child as a dependent.  Period.  End of Story.  It is important to note that COURT means COURT.  These things are NOT ENOUGH to allow a never married father to claim the child as a tax dependent:

Dublin Family Law Attorney

  • Living with the mother
  • Paying the mother’s bills
  • Paying the baby’s bills
  • Paying child support by helping the mom out financially
  • Paying child support through the child support enforcement agency
  • Having your name listed on the birth certificate
  • Having paternity established
  • Exercising parenting time by agreement, but not by court order
  • Having court ordered parenting time (visitation or shared parenting), but not having a court order that allows you to claim the child as a dependent

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The question is, what IS enough for a never married father to be able to claim his child as a dependent on his taxes?

Dublin Family Lawyer

  • The father has custody of the child; OR
  • The father has a court order requiring the mother to sign forms giving him the right to claim the child as a dependent on taxes.

What about parents who are divorced?  Who has the right to claim the child on taxes then?  Generally, in Ohio, the issue of the tax exemption is dealt with in the decree of divorce.  Unfortunately, sometimes, due to mistake, the issue is left out of the decree of divorce or dissolution.  In those circumstances, the person who is allowed to claim the child as a tax dependent is governed by the Internal Revenue Code.

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The form to release a child as a dependent is IRS Form 8832.  A copy of the most recent version of this form, as of April 15, 2014, can be found by clicking the link below:

If you have family law questions, about taxes or other family law matters, please feel free to call our office to schedule a consultation.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

Virginia Cornwell is an Ohio Family Lawyer and one of approximately 100 Ohio  State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialists.  

DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important!