The Oklahoma Court of Appeals recently ruled that the right to claim a child as a dependent for tax purposes is related to an award of child support, not part of property division in a divorce. The Court cites several cases from other states as supporting the decision. The Court further stated that since the right to claim the parties’ children as dependents is modifiable, it implies such rights are akin to child support.
What does this mean for divorced parents? Anytime a modification is properly filed to change the amount of child support, it is also opening the door for a change as to which parent may claim the child or children on their taxes. To help avoid this issue, it is important to address which parent is going to be able to claim the children on their taxes and on which years they will be able to claim them. If this issue is properly addressed in the original decree, it will help avoid issues regarding taxes down the road.
For the Court’s full opinion click here: Barnes v. Barnes, 2017 OK CIV APP 38 .