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3 Bumps

Who claims my son for tax purposes?

My son's father and I were never married and we'll be living in separate households soon. We plan to share custody, but hope to not go to court, so we have no legal agreement. Currently, my son is on my health insurance policy. Does that prevent his father from claiming him as a dependent on his tax return? I would prefer to switch off years. Would that mean we'd have to switch our son from one policy to the other parent's policy each year?

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Asked by GavinsProudMom at 11:27 AM on Aug. 6, 2010 in Money & Work

Level 2 (4 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • Nothing prevents him from claiming your son. Thats what court is for.

    Answer by UpSheRises at 11:28 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • Health insurance is completely separate from tax returns. You all should be able to switch off years with no problem at all. However, for your sake and your ex's sake, I would get a parenting plan in place with the courts. Very rarely are people able to get along, even for their childs sake, with an ex for an extended period of time, and not have any paperwork through court. I would get the paperwork in place just to prevent future headaches.

    Answer by mommy11260 at 11:30 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • Who will your son live with most and who will provide most of his financial suppport? That is the person who will claim him. This is just one item that you should have in a written agreement with his father whether you want to go to court or not. Things change, people change, and an amicable agreement today may not be quite so friendly in a few years when he has another wife/SO and suddenly doesn't want to be so financially involved with your son.

    Answer by ceallaigh at 11:30 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • If you were never married, by default you are the one who LEGALLY gets to claim him. HOWEVER, you may sign a waiver permitting him to lawfully claim your son. When you do this though, make certain that you ONLY give permission for THAT YEAR, or you will have problems later down the road.

    Technically, anyone with their SSN can claim them... LEGALLY, you simply have to show a document proving that he is your son, and there is no custody order, etc. In order to claim him yourself, should the issue of an unlawful claim come into play.

    I spent several hours back and forth with the IRS this year, since my Ex illegally claimed our sons... Ugh! Glad I was able to find out what I did though. You can also go to and find out the same info.

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 11:31 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • Who carries the health insurance has NOTHING to do with who claims your son on tax returns. My step-father has 2 girls, he carries the health insurance for both girls, but only gets to claim 1 while his ex gets to claim the other. That is how they worked it out. My mom on the other hand because she had physical custody of us, her kids, she claimed all 4 of us on the taxes, while my bio-father paid for child support and medical insurance. My SIL because she as physical custody gets to claim her daughter, even though her ex pays for the insurance and child support.

    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 11:33 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • Who was claiming him before? Since you aren't married, one of you was claiming him before. If you don't have a court document stating who gets to claim him, then you need to have a sit down chat with him and make a decision. Get it in writing is all I can say. You may be getting along now, but nothing will prevent problems down the road like a written, notarized document.

    Answer by Lifes-A-Dance at 11:36 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • Honestly you need to go to court, and at least file for support, ,most times you trade off every other year,,but I would get it from the courts to be sure! Good luck!

    Answer by kimigogo at 11:37 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • Agree with kimigogo.

    Answer by Christine0813 at 11:39 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • I'm not sure you can switch off years. When my husband and his ex divorced, the courts decided which child each parent could claim and they have to claim that child every year. This year his daughter was over 18, so the IRS sent us a couple forms we had to fill out (and his ex had to sign) proving she was a student and was not claiming herself as a dependent.

    Answer by HotMama330 at 11:45 AM on Aug. 6, 2010

  • Well.....despite some of the answers the reality is who claims a child and health insurance DO matter. When my son and I moved in with my parents we wanted him to have health insurance. Since we lived in their house they were able to put him on their policy but to do so they were legally required to be the ones to claim him on their taxes. So that year they HAD to claim him

    Answer by Mom2Jack04 at 3:21 PM on Aug. 6, 2010

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