Can non-custodial parent claim child when custodial is not employed?

Can a non-custodial parent who pays child support claim the child as a dependent? The custodial parent was not employed for the whole tax year, and 95% of the support for the child is coming from the non-custodial parent.
    Cancel
    Support makes no difference for a qualifying child since the the only requirement is that the child did not support him/her self.  It does not matter where the support actually comes from.

    If you are the non-custodial parent, you might be able to claim the exemption and child tax credit if the custodial parent releases the exemption to you with a 8332 form or you have a pre-2009 divorce decree that spells out the claiming of the child and meets the IRS requirements.
    ==================
    Who can claim the exemption and credits depends on who is the custodial parent. (By the IRS definition of custodial parent for tax purposes - this is not the same as the custody that a court might grant.).

    The test that the IRS uses to determine the custodial parent is where the child lived for more than 1/2 (or greater part) of the year. The IRS will go so far as to require counting the nights spend in each household - that person is the custodial spouse for tax purposes (if exactly equal - The custodial parent is the parent with the highest AGI). And yes they are that picky.

    Only the Custodial parent can claim:
    -Head of Household,
    -Earned Income Credit,
    -Child Care Credit

    The non custodial parent can only claim:
    -The Exemption and
    -Child Tax Credit,

    But only if specifically specified in a pre-2009 divorce decree, separation agreement or the custodial spouse releases the exemption with a signed 8332 form - after 2009 the IRS only accepts a signed 8332 form that must be attached to the non-custodial parents tax return.

    See “Children of divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart” in IRS Pub 17 for full information.
    http://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch03.html#en_US_2011_publink1000170857
      Cancel
      Contribute an answer

      People come to TurboTax AnswerXchange for help and answers—we want to let them know that we're here to listen and share our knowledge. We do that with the style and format of our responses. Here are five guidelines:

      1. Keep it conversational. When answering questions, write like you speak. Imagine you're explaining something to a trusted friend, using simple, everyday language. Avoid jargon and technical terms when possible. When no other word will do, explain technical terms in plain English.
      2. Be clear and state the answer right up front. Ask yourself what specific information the person really needs and then provide it. Stick to the topic and avoid unnecessary details. Break information down into a numbered or bulleted list and highlight the most important details in bold.
      3. Be concise. Aim for no more than two short sentences in a paragraph, and try to keep paragraphs to two lines. A wall of text can look intimidating and many won't read it, so break it up. It's okay to link to other resources for more details, but avoid giving answers that contain little more than a link.
      4. Be a good listener. When people post very general questions, take a second to try to understand what they're really looking for. Then, provide a response that guides them to the best possible outcome.
      5. Be encouraging and positive. Look for ways to eliminate uncertainty by anticipating people's concerns. Make it apparent that we really like helping them achieve positive outcomes.
      Cancel