I am custodial parent and kids live with me more than. Half the year. He makes do much to get EIC as well
No. In order to file HOH you *must* have a qualifying dependent that you claim. Now the custodial parent is the one with whom the child lives for at least 183 nights of the tax year. So for your ex to claim the kids, you have to sign IRS Form 8332 releasing your right to claim them. However, you "may" qualify for the EIC if your income is not to high. Can't be sure on that though, due to the tax law changes for 2018 and the fact the IRS pubs with the specifics has not updated for 2018 yet. But the chart has been updated for 2018 at https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/eitc-income-limits-maxim...
These cases get complicated, and I do not know the legal agreements of your divorce/separation. So I need to make assumptions. In a significant number of divorce cases, an agreement might allow the non-custodial parent to claim the exemption for a child. (I am assuming that "claim the kids" means claim the "exemptions".) In such a case, the custodial parent should have issued a Form 8332 to give the exemption to the non-custodial parent. With the Form 8332, which gives the non-custodial spouse the exemption, then the non-custodial parent can get the Child Tax Credit, Education Credits, and the deduction value for the exemption which now has little value because that has been reduced (essentially eliminated) to $0 for 2018 through 2025.
I am assuming that your child lives with you for over half of the year; and you pay more than 1/2 the cost of keeping up the home for you and your child; and that you are not married. As the custodial parent, the child can remain as your qualifying child for many other benefits, which include you filing as Head of Household, Earned Income Credit (you all have SSNs and are not qualifying child of another taxpayer), and the Child and Dependent Care Credits. (Both parents can claim what they individually spend for the child's medical expenses, but the limitations of Schedule A and the Standard Deduction rarely bring medical expenses into play.)
The non-custodial parent cannot (repeat, cannot) claim the Earned Income Credit (EITC) if the child did not live with the non-custodial parent for over half of the year. (Note that it is not an option to be traded.) If the non-custodial spouse claims EITC and gets caught, then he/she will have some very serious issues with the IRS.
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