Question about IRS Form 8332

My ex-wife and I agreed to rotate the years we claim our children as dependents. The IRS has requested a Form 8332 be completed for 2011 (not really sure why since we've been doing this for 6 years the same way). Unfortunately, completing this form requires cooperation from my ex-wife who doesn't seem to want to respond to me even though alll she has to do is sign & date it, everything else is done. What's most concerning is that the University my son is attending will not release his financial because they're still waiting on my 2011 tax return transcript (yes, I made her aware of this too), what do I do?
  • My situation is a little different. My kids mother and I have court papers stating that we both have joint custody of our son. We have been taking turns claiming our son on our taxes. She takes the odd years and I take the even. We both have been workgin well with this agreement with no issues. This is the first time I have heard of this form 8332. Would I still be required to present this form in order to claim my son? I dont want to file out this form if I dont have to, though geting her signature wont be a problem, as she would need to have me sign the same form next year when she files....
The custodial (physical custody, not legal custody) parent has first priority on claiming the children on her taxes; regardless of the amount of support provided by the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent can only claim the child as a dependent if the custodial parent gives permission (on form 8332) or if it's spelled out in a pre 2009 divorce decree.

If you both try to claim the child, the IRS is going to side with her. If you do not meet the pre-2009 divorce decree requirements, but the feel the "agreement to rotate years" is legally enforceable, you'll have to get a judge to order her to sign the form 8332 and/or sue for damages.

There is a way to split the tax benefits. For future negotiations with the other parent (and maybe even for this year) the following info may be of use:
 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 1 of you can claim the child for any tax reasons.

Note in particular that the non-custodial parent can never claim the Earned Income Credit. THE TAX BENEFITS MAY NOT BE SPLIT IN ANY OTHER MANNER.
    Go tot he IRS web site:

    Scroll down to page 13.  Since you were divorced in 2005 roughly, you may not need the 8332.  See if your divorce decree meets the requirements shown.

    If it does not, then you would need your ex to sign the form.  If she is the custodial parent, she has the right to claim the child regardless of your agreement otherwise and the IRS will revoke your dependent claim.
    • Good reply above. A question: how in the world can the mom as the custodial parent simply choose to ignore the agreement, if it is in the divorce decree? Is that really true? I just tried to get the spousal maintenance changed, and the court said nope, it is a signed agreement and the court endorsed it. So why would spousal maintenance not be changeable, but the rotating of claiming a child on taxes can be ignored? Both items are mentioned in the divorce decree, neither should be changeable.
    • It's not "changeable". it's just not the IRS's job to enforce court orders. They go by the laws congress wrote. no court order can overrule them. But that doesn't prevent the aggrieved party from going back  to court for contempt & civil damages.
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