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jaderpinney
New Member

Can I claim my wife's daughter if we are separated?

My wife and I have been separated since May 2017. She just up and left and we have 1 child together and she has 1 child of her own but I have been supporting her since she was 1 month old an now she is 5. My wife and I got married in 2013 but now have been separated for 6 months almost. I am taking care of both daughters since she has been gone. Can I claim my stepchild if I file head of household? 

5 Replies
DoninGA
Level 15

Can I claim my wife's daughter if we are separated?

A step-child is considered your child for tax purposes under the Qualifying Child rules.  You should be able to claim the children as your dependents under the Qualifying Child rules if they meet all the requirements.  Filing as Head of Household does not affect you being able to claim the children as your dependents.

To be a Qualifying Child -

1. The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.

2. The child must be (a) under age 19 at the end of the year, (b) under age 24 at the end of the year and a full-time student or (c) any age and permanently and totally disabled.

3. The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year. Temporary absences while away at college are considered living with you.

4. The child must not have provided more than half of his or her own support for the year.

5. If the child meets the rules to be a qualifying child of more than one person, you must be the person entitled to claim the child as a qualifying child. 

6. The child must be a U.S. citizen or U.S., Canada or Mexico resident for some portion of the year.

7. The child must be younger than you unless disabled.

jaderpinney
New Member

Can I claim my wife's daughter if we are separated?

I know to file head of household,  you must fit certain criteria and I do because my wife left in May which will be 8 months in December. So we will be considered unmarried. Is this correct? But my concern is since we are considered unmarried is my wife's daughter still considered my step daughter?
DoninGA
Level 15

Can I claim my wife's daughter if we are separated?

You will be considered Unmarried for tax purposes if you have not lived with your spouse, at any time, during the last six months of the year.  So you need to wait until after the end of 2017 if you have not lived together in the six months preceding the end of December.
Yes, your wife's daughter is still your step-daughter since you are legally married to the child's mother.
jaderpinney
New Member

Can I claim my wife's daughter if we are separated?

We will be most likely getting a divorce. Thank you for your response. It was helpful.
Hal_Al
Level 15

Can I claim my wife's daughter if we are separated?

The step child relationship not only survives the separation, it survives an actual divorce.
For tax purposes, her daughter is you child now and will remain your child after the divorce.
As long as the child lives with you, for more than half the year, and not the mother, you have first priority on claiming her.

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