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My children live with my ex-spouse and her boyfriend but I pay child support. Can my ex-spouse's boyfriend claim my children as dependents?

Most likely he can't claim your children as dependents. To claim them, your ex-spouse's boyfriend must provide more than 1/2 of your children's support for the year. Since you're paying child support, it's possible he doesn't provide that much support.

However, the fact that your ex-wife's boyfriend can't claim your children doesn't necessarily mean that you can.

It's possible that your children qualify as your ex-spouse's dependents. Since she's their parent and they lived with her more than 1/2 the year, a different support test is used. This test determines if the children qualify as her dependents.

Under this test, the children can't provide more than 1/2 of their own support for the year. This test doesn't require her to provide any support for the children. It only considers how much support they provided for themselves.

She can claim your children as dependents unless either of these applies:

  • She's not required to file a return and doesn't do so.
  • She only files a return to get a refund of all taxes withheld.

A person with an income less than $10,000 usually isn't required to file a return.

If your children don't qualify as her dependents, then they might qualify as your dependents. When you don't live with your children, you consider the children's gross income and the amount of support you, the parent, actually provide. If you provide more than 1/2 their support, they'll qualify as your dependents since they're your children and they have no gross income.
Your ex-spouse can also release the right to claim your children as dependents. She can do this by completing Form 8332, which you'll need to file with your return.

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