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There are two terms under which to claim a dependent, qualifying child and qualifying relative. If the children were in school any part of five calendar five months of the year in question, they can still be considered qualifying children.
In order to determine if a dependent is a qualifying child, the following tests must be passed.
1) Relationship test - Since they are your children they pass this test.
2) Member of household test – Must have lived with you for more than half the year (temporary absence for school is still considered living with you over half the year)
3) Age test-Must be under 19 at the end of the year or under 24 if a full-time student during any part of 5 calendar months of the year.
4) Support test- The child cannot provide over half of his/her own support in the year.
The custodial parent is the parent with which the child resides with over half of the year. If you are the custodial parent and the children qualify as qualifying children to you, then you don’t have to sign the 8332 giving the right to the exemption to your ex-husband unless you choose to do so. If you allow him to claim the children as dependents, he will get their dependency exemption along with their education credits (providing there are education credits to receive). You will still be entitled to head of household deduction and earned income credit if you qualify. Here is a link to the IRS website for EIC regarding divorced/separated couples that will also take you to additional links if needed. http://www.eitc.irs.gov/rptoolkit/faqs/divorced/
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