Child Custody Agreements: Paying Taxes

divorce lawyer Daniel ExnerQuestion:

Our current child custody agreements state I am to claim my daughter for federal and state tax purposes.

My ex provides me with two tax forms showing the difference in her taxes between claiming our child as a dependent and not claiming our child as a dependent. Then I am supposed to pay her the difference for the benefits she lost.

She claims her live-in boyfriend can claim her as a dependent, but since a dependent can’t claim a dependent, would I still be required to pay her if her boyfriend claimed her?

Also, if she chooses to file joint taxes with her boyfriend am I required to pay the tax differences based on their combined income?


I can provide you with some general divorce help for men regarding the issue in your question, though for specific legal advice on divorce you should consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

Based on the information you provided, I understand you and your ex-wife entered into child custody agreements that included tax considerations. You have the right to claim your daughter as a dependent every year on your federal and state income taxes and, in return, you must compensate your ex-wife for the benefit she lost for not claiming your daughter as a dependent on her taxes.

First, you need to contact a tax professional in your state as I am unable to give tax advice.  For one, I do not know what the circumstances are such that her boyfriend is able to claim her as a dependent.

I would certainly argue that it would be inappropriate for you to have to reimburse the boyfriend for the loss he experiences by not being able to claim your daughter on his taxes.

A custody agreement is a contract and parties may ask the court to settle ambiguities in their contracts. If you believe the agreement requires the payment to be based on individual filings and your ex-wife disagrees, you may ask the court to settle the matter by filing a motion.

I recommend consulting with a family law attorney in your state to fully explore your options. When you meet with the attorney, bring the child custody agreements and any documents or communications you have that pertain to your negotiations with your ex-wife.

Again, because the answer to your question will depend on whether the practice in your state is consistent with the laws of Wisconsin, I encourage you to speak to a domestic litigation attorney for divorce advice for men.


Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Daniel Exner, a Staff Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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