Non custodial parent claiming child on taxes

Liz - posted on 08/19/2015 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I do not want an argument, just some insight on a non-custodial parent claiming the child on taxes. I realize the custodial parent pays for MANY MANY things, but the non-custodial (my husband) also pays for many things. He pays/provides the following:

* $500.00 monthly in child support (weekly payments are taken out of his check)
* Has let the bio mother use his credit card for gas, gifts, and other purchases
* Delivers groceries when the bio mom says she is out of money
* On longer stays (3 weeks to a month), she keeps the payments, and does not provide a cent. He doesnt ask any questions, just enjoys his time with his son
* Bio mom had in the past, told him he had to pay for their rent. My husband did so, and lived at his sister's home for an extended period of time because he could not afford his rend AND her rent. This was later clarified and discontinued by the judge, who said there was no basis for him paying her rent and child support at the same time.
* My husband pays for school clothes

SO, my question is, would it be fair for my husband to be able to claim his son on his taxes ONCE? Our home is considerably smaller than theirs, we do not take vacations EVER for lack of funds (well once for our honeymoon that was paid by several family members).

Our lack of funds are not due to child support. That is not what I am saying. It is his responsibility and I wouldnt be with a man who didnt support his son. BUT, we cant catch a break? Her job pays more than our jobs.

She has said that it is not possible for a non-custodial parent to ever claim the child. But, and maybe I am being a b*tch, but we would like a chance at seeing some of the money back. Am I crazy for wondering this? They've gone on 4-5 cruises with the tax returns, so it's not like the money is a life-line for her. For us, tax returns mean just that - a life-line.

We NEVER discuss money issues with his son. That wouldnt be fair, but his son has brought it up in the past several years about how even when she has money, she will ask for more, then spend more cash on extra's. I take what he says with a grain of salt. He is only 16 years old and may not fully understand the situation, but still. For example, she had him buy groceries for his son. He did not ask where the child support went, he just filled their refrigerator, and felt proud that his son welcomed him with a huge smile and "Thank you dad!". I was even worried for his son. The every-other weekend visit followed 2 days later, and (I couldnt help myself) looked at her twitter account. She posted pictures of a trip to NY (tour etc) that very weekend! I looked it up because his son mentioned it and I wanted to scream, but bit my tongue.

With her comfortable life, and the fact that he pays for other things aside from child support (frequently), the bio mom shouldnt cut the dad a break at least ONE time?

Opinions?
I welcome productive feedback from both bio and stepmoms.

Thanks moms!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Corinne - posted on 08/25/2015

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Hello, If you feel your situation is worsening due to the amount of child support being paid. He can contact the child support division and ask that the amount be lowered due to hardships. He can use the fact that she posted vacations without her son as proof that the money is not going for their son.

As for filing taxes. You have to have a court order that gives the father permission to file taxes on the child, because at anytime without the court order the mother can file taxes and the the father would have to pay back the taxes and fines.

The judge will calculate what taxes the mother gets and then divide that up with the current payments to raise them so that the mother is not out the money she would have gotten if filed on their son. So for example (father pays $500, if the total money received for taxes is $900, then the judge would add $75 to the $500.) Now the father would be paying $575 a month but also filing taxes every year on their son.

However, If he can prove that the current order is a burden on your family, then he may get it lowered so that if the judge adds anything to the child support, it will still be lower or about the same of what he is currently paying.

To answer your question on whether it is fair or not to allow the father one time to file taxes, the judge will say no, but that does not stop the bio-parents from signing a written notarized letter giving the father permission to file taxes. Just remember the law is on the side of the custodial or whom ever had the child in their care six months 1 day of the year. So if custody visitation gives your husband a higher percentage of primary home living, he then has the legal right to file taxes and not the mother.

I hope this helps!

Cori

Corinne - posted on 08/25/2015

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Hello Liz,

I have experience with this. I am the mom receiving the child support. The father had told me that he owes when he does taxes unless he can claim our daughter. I let him one time and then found out how much he actually made when I saw what I thought was his bank account and it was actually a monthly check...

I asked the judge if I had to share filing taxes with the father and he said no, unless the father pays me what I would get filing for our daughter in additional child support payments to make up for what I would be losing.

He even by law is required to give a portion of money he made from property he sales.

Dove - posted on 08/22/2015

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Oh... I see. You questioned it because I used the word 'should'.... well, technically he could try and claim the child, but if he wants to avoid an audit and doing something illegal... he 'should' not claim the child unless he has a court order allowing it.

Understand my wording now? lol

Jodi - posted on 08/21/2015

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OK, with regard to the taxes, as others have said, check the orders to see what has been specified. However, this seems to me like this post is about a lot more than money.

At 16, the mother is right. If he chooses not to go to his dad's, or not to call, then that is his right. If he chooses not to answer the phone, that is his right. I'll be honest, I wouldn't have a CLUE how often my son answers the phone if his dad calls. It is his phone and his relationship with his father has really been none of my business for a while (he is 17) - it is between them. Now, IF his father contacted me and asked why my son was ignoring his calls, I'd most likely have a talk to my son about it and try to encourage him to patch things up with his dad, but I wouldn't "force" him to do it. I would not, however, see it as MY place to call his dad every now and then to let him know how his son was. If he wants to know, he can call me.

Sarah - posted on 08/20/2015

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I read the thread and I am not sure what you really are asking? Does the bio-mom have the right to determine if you can or cannot claim the child on taxes or should you be able too? If you have a support order, you may want to review it carefully as you may be surprised that this was laid out in the original decree. Many parents alternate years, and other parents claim one of two, while some get to claim all of the kids all of the time.
Claiming one child on your taxes isn't really that big of an amount anyway.

22 Comments

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 08/25/2015

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Liz, you need to remember that support, claiming on taxes, etc, is decided on a case by case basis. In Corinne's case, for example, it was decided that her ex owes her extra.

However, each judicial district has different guidelines.

Corinne - posted on 08/25/2015

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Hello again Liz,

I'm sorry I just noticed that you said the child spends more time than what is established in the visitation. If you calendar all time spent for six months, take that in as proof that he spends more time with his son. You will definitely have a change made to the case. If the mom is spending less time with her son then maybe the father should considered taking over custodian parent and let the mom become non-custodian parent.


Cori

Liz - posted on 08/25/2015

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Oh my goodness. That is very detailed and clear. Thank You for your feedback. How do you know so much about this topic? Do you speak from experience? If you rather not share, that is fine.

Much appreciated, to you and the other mothers who have responded.


Liz

Liz - posted on 08/22/2015

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It sounds like you handled your situation very well. You opened the lines of communication between she, yourself, and your kids. I appreciate your point of view.

Jodi - posted on 08/22/2015

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I can understand your concern more now. Yes, it would be a simple courtesy for her to answer the phone and let you know he is okay.

Is there anything preventing dad from going around to her house just to check up on him and touch base with him her and there? Just another thought of a way to reach out.

Dove - posted on 08/22/2015

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You can ask... not sure I can answer well cuz my memory sucks... lol

A lot of things. I never remember having a good relationship w/ her as a child and from 12 on I pretty much couldn't stand her. My parents split right before I turned 16... due to housing issues I had to live w/ my mom for a couple of months, but as soon as my dad had a place for me to be... I moved back home (my mom had moved away) and stayed home. I did visit her a few times and had SOME communication, but kept it minimal and distant.

I do not quite know exactly what irritated me so much about her when I was younger. She still gets on my nerves if she's around too long, but as an adult I now realize she was just a woman doing the best she could. I come from a long line on her side of people w/ mental health issues and I think each generation is getting slightly better than the last. I decided to rebuild a relationship w/ her when I became a mom, so that my kids could know her (even though she lives 3000 miles away she is as involved as possible) and I don't regret it. I also don't regret the times that I cut her out of my life because it was what 'I' needed to do for my own attempt at mental health.

Liz - posted on 08/22/2015

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I am glad that you eventually did have a positive relationship with your mother. May I ask (of course you dont have to share), what made you not want to communicate with your mother?

Thanks

Liz - posted on 08/22/2015

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Thank You for "getting it". Not my place, not the kid's obligation, not my husband's place to force him, BUT it would be nice if she picked up one of the the many phone calls to HER phone. "your son is ok. He's upset, and if he doesnt want to call you, I cant force him. " That would have been nice. She only picked up after services called her and told her she needed to at least call him if it had been so long since his son responded. We worried because if he was sick, she probably wouldnt seek medical attention. Once his son had had minor surgery, which resulted in him losing a lot of blood internally. It had accumulated in his stomach, and by the time it was his visitation, the kid was throwing up blood (it looked like the Shining), and even left a strong "copper" smell in his bathroom. The clots had been an indication that the blood had been in there for at least a few days, but his mother chose not to say anything, and decided to wait a while, and did not seek medical attention when he threw up blood. In fact, when the kid was throwing up blood during his visitation, my husband called her to tell her he was on his way to the hospital, and she said to just drop him off at her apt. She told him she was not going to pay for his hospital bill, and would rather treat him herself. If he had listened to her, the kid would have lost his life. The doctor's words, not mine. SO, being a little paranoid about his well being is something his dad cant shake. I remember my friend and I trying to clean up the blood around the apartment so when they returned it was not a reminder of what had happened, and we went through all his towels and started using some of his t-shirts to help absorb the blood. I While his dad was out to pick up some food, his son ran from one sink to throw up, to another, and had even used a plunger to help the blood and clots go down the drain.

Yes, there are other issues, but I did not want to scatter conversation regarding each situation, and I guess it is bottled up inside me. Understand I have no friends in my position. None. And I believe telling people close to us our situation is disrespectful to my husband, so I try to keep it to myself. It was not until I found this site, did I feel like other women can provide insight. The last thing I want is to have people in my small circle of friends to think of him as a "pussy", "push-over", or "pendejo". He gets enough of that from his father.

Thank you and other women who have provided your opinions, as blunt as possible.

Dove - posted on 08/22/2015

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From the age of 16 til 25 I barely communicated w/ my mom at all... and NO ONE pushed me. It wasn't until I became a mom myself that I started rebuilding that relationship myself. It was MY decision (as it should have been) and both of my parents respected that... even though I know it broke my mom's heart.

We have a great relationship now.

As for the taxes... if there is no court order stating that he can claim the child then the only way it can legally happen is if the mother signs a specific form (which I can tell is never going to happen), so no... legally he can not claim the child w/out a court order specifying it.

Liz - posted on 08/21/2015

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He is 16, but his father has the right to know how he's doing, good or bad. Teenagers throw fits all the time, but not answering the phone, not texting or texting back, not resolving any issues he may feel is not healthy. The adult (mother) can choose not to support this behavior, and at least she can call his father (or answer the phone), and let him know his son is doing well, and maybe provide some insight as to what the issue is. Bio mom no longer speaks to her own mother, has not spoken with her brother (who is unfortunately battling cancer), does not speak with her father, and countless friends following disagreements, arguments, etc. Her mentality: If there is a problem, dont talk to the other person. For how long? It doesnt matter. You dont have to resolve the issue, just keep them out of your life. She would never tolerate her son not picking up the phone when she calls, and my husband makes sure he does pick up, out of respect for her as his mother.

Liz - posted on 08/21/2015

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I agree that matter has nothing to do with the money aspect of it, but it is an example of blurred lines in our situation. I say "ours" because we both deal with the consequences.

The tax question was geared toward - is it possible? If not, should it be possible?

Marney - posted on 08/19/2015

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Have to agree with previous posters - all of those things - visitation, insurance, who declares the child on taxes, etc. should have been spelled out very clearly in a custody and support decree. If she has withheld visits, etc. and it is against that court order, she can be held accountable, regardless whether married or not. If they have not been, then it needs to be clarified now, particularly if he is expected to pay insurance and support through the child's college years.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 08/19/2015

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Whether or not they were married is irrelevant. If there are no existing orders for custody, visitation, and support (which there must be, if he's getting garnished), then he should visit an attorney. Avoiding doing so because 'court can be messy' is an invalid excuse.
If the child lives 5 minutes away, then he can easily come to his father's home if the fridge at mom's is empty, for whatever reason. My step brother had to do so, because his mother wouldn't spend wisely, and their fridge was almost always empty, but my mother and step dad would never have turned him away from their fridge, so that was the solution there.
Again, whether or not he can claim the child on taxes must be decreed by the courts.

Dove - posted on 08/19/2015

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The child is 16? In that case whether or not he visits/calls and when he visits/calls absolutely SHOULD be up to him.... and that is completely separate from any money issues.

Dove - posted on 08/19/2015

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There should be a court order detailing custody, visitation, and child support. It should also include when/if each parent can claim the child on their taxes. If there is no court order in place... no, he should not claim the child, but he should go to court.

Liz - posted on 08/19/2015

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As I said, our taxes are a lifeline, meaning, it's not just about us wanting trips and extras. We have a saving's account because I pay student loans, and I want to at one point have a child.


His son is not from a marriage, but a previous relationship. When it comes to paying extras, groceries would never be denied, because we feel his son or any other child, should not go to bed hungry. Especially now that he is a growing teenager. Yes, she spent the money on a trip, but that doesnt change the fact that his son will open the fridge and find nothing. She knows this. Although, when he had no money because he got laid off, she said to him "You have the kid this weekend. It is your problem". I wouldnt have believed it if I hadnt been in the room when my husband asked. So, I got him groceries.

One reason he does not fight this, is that weekends have been skipped, excuses have been made for his son not to stay, and following an argument he had with his son, his son did not contact or receive phone calls from his dad for exactly 2 months. The argument was over his son not feeling he had to pick up the dishes he left around the sofa. Really? She supported this behavior. He called services, and they contacted her. She claimed she cant force her son to call if the kid is 16 and has a mind of his own. She was warned about this, but his fear is that friction will cause his son to become upset, and the mother can use this as an excuse in the future for him not visiting. Ex: "We had planned a trip, he is going to an important event, he does not feel well, the weather is poor (he lives litterally 5 mintues away), or she will tell him she is feeling down, and would like his support.
I did not pull this question out of my behind. He has mentioned it several times. I hate watching him CRY when his child is not with him during a planned weekend stay repeatedly. After we moved in together, his son made the comment "Mom said that now that you live with Liz, you have more money, so you can give me more stuff".

His reservations regarding legal matters is not unfounded. I've heard the history, and have seen the outcomes of his actions. It is just not worth it. The emotional tolls are too heavy to bare at this point.

Discussing the extras comes from questions such as "no money for groceries, but she just ..................with ................. last week?" "She does not have money? But, she just got a new car?" So, these things pile on throughout the year, and when taxes come around, yes, the question arises, do we have a right to claim his child? Are we crazy for asking this question? Despite my venting, I am at a good place. Yes I live below my means due to student loans. Working for the public school system does not pay a whole lot, but I wouldnt trade it for anything. I did not expect marriage with a man who has a child with a previous relationship to be easy, but he does feel he has very little rights.

I have both friends who get no support for their child, and friends that support their child but have few rights. Going to court gets ugly.

My question is concerning his rights. I do not tell him what to do or what not to do, so I've been really good at butting out. That is why I turn to this website. So I can ask questions and vent without stepping on toes, or crossing the line.

I appreciate your response, and actively try to focus on our blessings, but cant help but ask about this topic.

Thank You

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 08/19/2015

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Your husband needs to address this with his attorney, if it isn't already spelled out in the divorce (which it usually is...that's one of the things that generally needs to be settled legally).

Just because she's got a bigger house, and better job means nothing. YOu need to quit comparing lives and live your own, rather than griping about things. You not being able to vacation due to lack of funds indicates that, perhaps you need to learn how to set aside a set amount each month to build for a goal. Perhaps financial counseling would help. Your husband obviously feels that this is his obligation, to provide above and beyond child support. I can't blame him, it's his son that he's providing for, but if it is causing financial problems for him to give so many 'extras' to her, then HE needs to address that, and put his foot down.

Have you discussed that with him? That filling the fridge, or sending her extra for utilities, etc, is NOT his responsibility? What does he say to you about it?

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