How Divorce Affects The Child Tax Credit

How divorce affects the child tax credit

The Child Tax Credit allows parents to get a bit of a tax break if they have qualifying children. However, these situations can be more complicated in the case of divorced parents or those who were never married. Understanding if you qualify and how your custody or support order affects your tax obligations is important to ensure that your taxes are filed correctly.

Generally, a child is considered a “qualifying” child under the Child Tax Credit guidelines if he is able to be claimed as a dependent and was less than 17 at the end of the last tax year. The child must also be either a biological child, adopted child, stepchild or other qualifying descendant and be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.

If you are divorced or were never married to your child’s other parent, the custody and/or support orders usually have provisions for who is to claim the children for dependent purposes. Only that person can claim the Child Tax Credit. In general, this will be the custodial parent. However, there are some situations in which the noncustodial parent who is paying child support is considered to have provided more than half of the child’s financial support for that year.

While a tax professional may be needed to answer specific questions about your filings and financial obligations, a family law attorney can help you better understand what your court order indicates as far as filing your tax returns. Talking with an attorney about these matters while your divorce is still in progress can also ensure that you are aware of your rights and obligations for the next tax season.

Source: FindLaw, “The Child Tax Credit,” accessed Jan. 07, 2016


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.