You do not need your spouse's SSN if you are filing Head of Household. You need your own SSN and the SSN's of the children you are claiming. Do you have that information?
If you have lived apart from your spouse for at least the last six months of 2020 and you are the custodial parent of the children then you can file as Head of Household. If your spouse has filed and claimed the children already then you will not be able to e-file. If the return cannot be e-filed due to a duplicate use of a child's SSN then you can file by mail and let the IRS sort it out.
Am I Head of Household?
If you qualify as Head of Household, when you enter your filing status (single or married filing separately) into MyInfo, and then enter your qualifying dependent, TurboTax will offer HOH as your filing status.
FYI ... if you don't have copies of the prior year joint returns you can get them from the IRS and/or get your attorney to request them from the soon to be ex. Also make sure the attorney gets anything else you may need prior to the divorce and make sure the facts are clear about who will claim the kid(s) if you are both the biological parents.
The IRS goes by physical custody, not legal custody. You are the custodial parent if the child(ren) spend more than half the nights, in a year, with you.
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: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17#en_US_2017_publink1000170897 Scroll down to "Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart)"
We cannot give you legal advice or know what court order you have to deal with (no lawyers here). But, in general, if there is a court order, that the ex gets to claim the child, it's inferred that you have to provide form 8332 and the child's SS#.
That said, and as the other reply already said, the IRS does not enforce court orders. It goes by it's own rules. If you claim the kid, the IRS will give you all the benefits. The ex's only remedy is to take you back to court. Being found in contempt is a possible outcome.
For more detail, see a similar question, asked by an ex, at https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/3479726-my-ex-claimed-our-child-but-our-court-order-says-i-m-suppo...
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