Who gets to claim the child as a dependent for taxes?

Divorce attorney Jason BowmanQuestion:

I am currently going through a divorce in which my spouse has terminated her parental rights so the child lives solely with me.

If my spouse is legally no longer the child’s mother, can she claim the child for tax purposes even though I’m the custodial parent?


First let me preface my answer by stating that I am not licensed to practice in your state. You should always consult an attorney who is licensed in your jurisdiction before taking any action in your case.

The Internal Revenue Service is always going to side with its regulations over any state order. The IRS regulation allows a parent who has been the custodial parent (this is usually determined by the number of nights, not the amount of money spent) to claim the child.

Since your divorce is pending, if the court awards her the ability to claim the child then you should follow the direction of the court.

You should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction for specific advice relating to this question. Cordell & Cordell practices family law nationwide.


Jason Bowman is an attorney in the Louisville, Kentucky, office of Cordell & Cordell. He is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University.

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