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Who gets the dependent

Have a fairly complex dependent question:

1. My gf's son was under legal custody of his grandparents until August 2019.

2. Physical custody of her son switched to her June 1st.

3. Grandparents want to claim the dependent and all credits saying they were guardians for 8 months.


Looking for confirmation. Mother has full rights to the exemption due to having physical custody of him for more than 6 months. She also provided his support for more than half the year. He is young so he has no income himself.

Do the grandparents have any rights to the exemption in this situation as long as the mother wants to claim him?

1 Reply
Not applicable

Who gets the dependent

the tests are for a qualifying child 

really it boils down to 1 test - where did the child live

both grandparents and mother meet the relationship test

the age test is met -under 19

the support test is whether the child provide more than 1/2 his/her own support which is obviously no (the support provided by the grandparents/mother is not the test). so this test is met 


  • the Child had the same principal abode as taxpayer for more than ½ the tax year.  (nights)


as you can see custody doesn't matter it where the child lived for more than 1/2 the year.


since there are 365 nights in a year, the 1/2 year test can only me met by one party unless they all lived together in teh same house for more than 1/2 the year 


now lets say that the child, mother and grandparents lived in the same house more than 1/2 the year.   then there is a tiebreaking rule under which the mother wins. 


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