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If I'm the noncustodial parent, can I claim my children?

The custodial parent usually has the right to the dependency exemption. This is because of the residency test. However, you, as the noncustodial parent, can take the exemption if all of these are true:

  • You and / or the other parent provided more than 1/2 your children's total support for the year.
  • You and / or the other parent have custody of your children for more than 1/2 the year.
  • You and the other parent are one of these:
    • Divorced
    • Legally separated
    • Lived apart at all times in the last six months of the year
  • One of these is true:
    • The custodial parent gives up the right to the exemption by signing a Form 8332: Release / Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent. The noncustodial parent must attach the Form 8332 to the return.
    • A pre-1985 agreement says the noncustodial parent gets the exemption. Plus, you've provided at least $600 for support of your children in the year.
  • An agreement that took effect from 1985 to 2008 says:
    • That the noncustodial parent is unconditionally entitled to claim the child
    • Which years the noncustodial parent can claim the child
    • That the custodial parent won't claim the child for those years

The noncustodial parent must attach certain pages of the agreement to the return.

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