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Wendy Reed
Wendy Reed, Enrolled Agent
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3346
Experience:  15+ years tax preparation and tax advice.
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I am divorced and my ex-wife and I share joint legal & physical

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I am divorced and my ex-wife and I share joint legal & physical custody of our two sons (50/50 split.) As I make more money, I pay her child support and also cover child-related costs (daycare, medical coverage, therapists for our son, etc.) and last year, I claimed both boys on my tax return.

My question is this: my ex is looking to claim the child tax credit for her 2010 tax return (as I make above the cut-off for income and would not be eligible) - however, if she does so, does that mean I can not claim the child-related costs above (daycare, medical coverage, etc.) on MY tax return, as she would be the one claiming the boys as dependents?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. I will give the best answer that I can with the information provided.


I presume that your divorce decree is silent on the matter of who claims the children.


If she claims the children as dependents, she gets the child tax credit.

Who gets the daycare credit depends on who is the custodial parent. I know you are saying 50/50 split, but the year has 365 days, one parent has to have them for a longer time than the other. That parent is the custodial parent (in the eyes of the IRS). In order for the non-custodial parent to claim the children as dependents the custodial parent must sign Form 8332 or similar statement, or the divorce decree must be singed by the custodial parent and have similar wording as the 8332 (as long as divorce was prior to 2009).


The non-custodial parent can never take the daycare credit.


For purpsoses of medical expense deductions, each parent can deduct the medical costs for the children that he or she paid, regardless of who claims them for that tax year.


I know this is confusing. Please let me know if you need more information.

Edited by Wendy Rieger on 2/1/2011 at 10:41 PM EST
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