Is there a certain amount you need to make in the year to get the earned income credit or the dependent credit?

My ex wants to claim one of our children, that do not live with him he only worked a couple months in 2018. 

Answer

For divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart, the custodial parent, if eligible, or other eligible person who the child lived with for more than half the nights of the year, can claim head of household filing status, the credit for child and dependent care expenses, the exclusion for dependent care benefits, and the earned income credit. If you are the custodial parent, those are the child tax benefits you can get and you cannot give any of those benefits to the other parent. There is no minimum amount of earned income required for the custodial parent to get earned income credit. 

The non-custodial parent, if allowed by divorce decree or consent of the custodial parent on form 8332 or similar signed statement, can claim the dependency exemption and child tax credit and additional child tax credit. For post-2008 divorce decrees or agreements, form 8332 or similar signed statement is required. The child tax benefits cannot be split any other way. If you are the custodial parent, it's up to you whether you grant the non-custodial parent these benefits or not. If you have a court order directing you to give the non-custodial parent these benefits, then you should follow the court order. The decision is yours and the IRS doesn't care.

For the non-custodial parent to get child tax credit, they need enough income to have a tax liability for the credit to offset. To get the full credit, their tax liability must be at least $2000 for each child claimed. If they don't have enough tax liability, they can get up to $1400 of "additional child tax credit" without it. They must have at least $2500 of income to begin qualifying for the additional child tax credit.

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