Yes. What can NOT happen is your ex claiming child care expenses.
There is a
special rule in the case of divorced & separated (including never married) parents.
When the non-custodial parent is claiming the child as a dependent/exemption/child
tax credit; the custodial parent is still allowed to claim the same child for
Earned Income Credit, Head of Household filing status, and day care credit.
This "splitting of the child" is not available to parents who lived
together at any time during the last 6 months of the year; then only one of you
can claim the child for any tax reasons. The tax benefits may not be split in
any other manner.
Note in particular that the non-custodial parent can never claim the Earned Income Credit, Head of Household filing status or the day care credit, based on that child, even when the custodial parent has released the exemption to him.
So, it's good idea to let the other parent know that you will be claiming those items, as many first time divorced parents are not aware of this rule and may try to claim those items, which will cause the IRS to send out letters.
Ref: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch03.html#en_US_2014_publink1000170897 Scroll down to "Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart)"
@Hal_Al I am hoping you can help me. Can you share with me the tax law ruling that determined that these expenses not paid by the custodial parent can be claimed?
I'm the custodial parent and pay for daycare and summer camp but my ex pays for after school care per our decree. He doesn't pay child support as we agreed he would pay this one expense. I have claimed it on my taxes as it was money that would have been paid to me, but he just pays the school directly. Now I'm concerned I've messed up since the pubs state I technically must pay. I remember reading this a few years ago when the ruling was made and it's what helped me determine I could however now I can't find it and I'm concerned I've messed up. I'd appreciate your input. Thank you!