Despite the commercials from tax preparation companies, tax season will only begin for consumers when they receive their W-2 reports and begin filing for tax return refunds. For those who are filing their first post-divorce tax return, they may be anticipating the benefit of being able to claim the Child Tax Credit, as it can reduce a person’s income (for income tax purposes) for each child under the age of 18 that they care for.

For newly divorced parents (and some who have been divorced for years), the allocation of the Child Tax Credit can be a bothersome and contentious experience. It can be especially troublesome if the custody order awards primary custody to one parent, but the child ends up living with the non-custodial parent for an extended amount of time. In these situations, the “custodial” parent may seek to take advantage of the credit because of the order, and the non-custodial parent may do so because he or she has cared for the child for the time required under federal law.

In these situations, it is important to consult an experienced family law attorney, preferably one who has tax experience so that he or she may guide you through the rough spots and help you get the return you are entitled to. A seasoned lawyer can also help in resolving disputes created through the custody order, as well as modifying the decree so that future confusion may be avoided.

If you have additional questions about the Child Tax Credit as it relates to your custody decree, we invite you to contact us.