Children of Divorced or Separated Parents or Parents Who Live Apart
There are special rules for children of divorced or separated parents, as well as children of parents who live apart. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the year. The other parent is the noncustodial parent. In most cases the custodial parent may claim the dependency exemption for the qualifying child. The noncustodial parent, however, may be entitled to claim the dependency exemption for a child and thus the child tax credit and additional child tax credit. Review the Child Tax Credit Interview Tips in the Volunteer Resource Guide, Nonrefundable Credits tab for additional information.
Remember, a custodial parent's release of the dependency exemption will also release the child tax credit and the additional child tax credit, if either applies, to the noncustodial parent. Noncustodial parents must attach Form 8332 or a similar statement to their return each year the exemption is claimed.
Taxpayers with divorce decrees or divorce agreements executed after 2008 must use Form 8332 or similar statement whose only purpose is to release the custodial parent's claim to the exemption; they cannot simply substitute pages from the divorce decree.