Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. I will give the best answer that I can with the information provided.
When a child is living at college, this is considered a temporary absence and would not change the fact that the custodial parent is still the custodial parent.
The non custodial parent may not claim the child's college tuition expenses or claim the child as a dependent without Form 8332 or equivalent. The rules for children of separate or divorced parents still apply. The only parent that may take a college credit or deduction is the parent that claims the child as a dependent.
This answer presumes that the child is still considered a qualifying child (does not pay more than 1/2 the cost of supporting himself) and that both parents together pay more than 1/2 the cost of supporting the child.
If the noncustodial parent pays college expenses but the custodial parent benefits from it (such as the custodial parent taking a college credit for the dependent child) then this is something that the family may wish to address in family court for purposes of child support amount or non-custodial parent's obligation for tuition.
Thank you Mr. Gorin for a much more thorough response.
Afte reading the IRS material referenced, it is my understanding that since the child turned 18 in September of 2009, that for the tax year of 2010 (when he starts college) in order for me (the historical non-custodial parent, to claim the child as a dependent, he would have to spend more nights with me than with his mom. This will not be the case, and he will also spend significant times at school since he is boarding there. All this being the case, it sounds like I need form 8332 completed by the custodial parent after all, since he will spend more nights with his mom than with me, when he is not at school. THANKS.