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The main question regarding how children are claimed is based on who is the custodial parent?That is based on with which parent the child actually lives?
The first step is to determine who is the custodial parent.
Under the IRS rules the custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived greater part of the year. That is regardless what divorce document states and regardless of the agreement between spouses.In general - the custodial parent is eligible to claim the child for all tax benefits.If children are living equal number of nights with each parent - the custodial parent is the parent with higher AGI.Please be aware that -- The custodial parent may release the claim to the noncustodial parent by signing the form 8332 -http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8332.pdf- should be filed with the noncustodial parent's tax return.In this case -Please refer to the IRS publication 504 -http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p504.pdfIf a child is treated as the qualifying child of the noncustodial parent under the special rule or separated parents, only the noncustodial parent can claim an exemption and the child tax credit child.However, the noncustodial parent cannot claim the child of household filing status, the credit and dependent care expenses, the exclusion care benefits, and the earned income credit. Only the custodial parent (or other eligible taxpayer) can claim the child as a qualifying child four tax benefits.
As long as you are the custodial parent - releasing dependency claim will NOT affect your eligibility for the affordable care act credit.Regarding taking the money out of the college fund - that distribution is usually is reported to the beneficiary - so form 1099Q for that distribution should be issued in your son's name - and not in parent's name - so I am not sure why your ex- spouse worries...However - that reporting should be confirm with the administrator of the college fund .The issue with that distribution - if not used for educational purposes - the gain will be subject to income tax and 10% penalty. To avoid that tax liability proceeds MUST be used for qualified educational expenses.
AS you started that "he needs to claim him as a dependent to get money back on his taxes in some way" - it looks as he is looking for some deducted to offset his tax liability - but that is not directly affects taxation of educational fund distribution.
But if distribution will be reported to your child - that is reported on HIS tax return - and not by parents.As you seems confused - we may discuss your issues over the phone and I will address all your concerns.