Tax Credit: Who counts the kids?

This is one of the most common questions folks have when they have not finalized a plan with the parent of their children.

Who counts the kids on their taxes?

NOTE: This is not legal advice. This is legal information. 
Contact an attorney for your specific situation.
  1. Do you have a Divorce Decree or Joint Parenting Agreement? If you already went through the process to get a Decree or Agreement of some kind--check there first.  Most of the time a settlement or judgment will have taxes figured out.  Some parents have to switch off every year, some chose to split up the kids, and others count the children on their own taxes every year.  Follow your plan--If you don't like it, ask an attorney if you can change it!
  2. Do you have an Order? Sometimes, when you're in the middle of a divorce, or have not finalize a parenting plan, the Court will tell you who should file the kids on their taxes each year until there is a final plan.  You may not remember, or you may not have noticed it before--Check your Orders to make sure there is not already a plan in place.  You do not want to violate an Order and be in trouble with the Court AND the IRS.
  3. What did you do last year? It is worth considering what you did last year--If you filed the kids on your taxes it may be the other parent's turn.  Make sure you communicate and CONFIRM BY TEXT OR EMAIL!