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Ask Coleen Hoffmeister Your Own Question
Coleen Hoffmeister
Coleen Hoffmeister, Legal Assistant
Category: Legal
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Experience:  23 years in legal experience.
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dependent care

Customer Question

im in texas, and my sons mother claimed him as a dependent. I cared for him probablly 70% of the time if not more. i've kept no records to indicate what im saying is true, and in court she'll probablly say im a lier. she is the costodial parent on paper(by law), even though to me thats bull. she recieved $4,200 from her income tax,and she did give me $800. i think i should get way more money than this. we lived together until june 1. Is there anything i can do to get the money that i fell she owes me?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Coleen Hoffmeister replied 11 years ago.
Not really. She claimed him this year. The only way you can do anything is to report her to the IRS, but only if you have grounds to stand on.

In order to avoid this, you must ask yourself questions and prepare better for next year.

Quite frankly, I think you were lucky to get the $800. I will tell you why in a minute.

Are there any divorce or custodial proceedings, a court order setting down what is what? If anything is mentioned on the record about this, the only thing you can do is to modify the agreement.

If there aren't any court papers, you both need to sit down and work out an agreement. Most courts have the parents alternate years for claiming the child, say odd years for the custodial and even for the other. Sometimes they don't do this because someone is obviously giving the child the majority of the care.

You really,really need to keep an accurate record of the time, care and expenses you give to your son. In this day and age, it isn't about mistakes that were made in a marriage or relationship and going on with your lives or caring for the child without a lot of fighting. Domestic attorneys are making a mint off of failed relationships where no one works together for the betterment of the child and the fighting lasts until that child or children is of age. Think about that and I hope it helps.

If there are court papers, review them. In Missouri, it costs up to $2,000 and $5,000 for an attorney to modify a decree of divorce or to modify custodial parenting. If you have this kind of cash, you can contact an attorney. However, there is nothing in the law that says you can't do it yourself, if you have a little legal know-how.

Are you paying child support? If you are not, then you may be opening up a can of worms. If you are, good for you.Keep it up and keep good records. Usually what happens is the custodial parent gets married or in another relationship and the fight is on. No one agrees and the courts will get an attorney for the child and you each will pay $2,000 - $5,000 to fight this when the child surely could have used that money for other things.

In my day, eons ago, both my ex and I knew we made a mistake but had 2 beautiful boys. We fought still, but we always had one goal and that was to do everything possible to take care of those kids. I charged my ex $100 a month for both children and he paid for clothing, schooling, if necessary, and anything else they might need at the drop of a hat. Geez, neither one of us knew how good we had it. He is gone now, at the age of 52, and my kids adored both of us. They don't have all the psychological damage that some kids of divorced parents do.


Do everything you can to work this out with your ex. Beg, mediate, tell her you feel cheated or need it. If you'll both be nice to each other and work on things, it could be better for the both of you and definitely better for the child.


Good luck and let me know if I can help further.

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