A: The custodial parent is entitled to claim a child as a dependent, unless the custodial parent affirmatively waives the right to claim the exemption in writing, and the writing is attached to the noncustodial parent’s tax return. The dependency exemption is negotiable and may facilitate agreement on child support.
This example could be used for minor children as well as older children eligible to be declared as dependents:
Husband shall be allowed to claim S as an exemption on his state and federal tax return for 2008. Wife shall be allowed to claim K as an exemption on her state and federal tax return for 2008. The parties shall equally share the benefit of claiming S or K as an exemption in future years. For each year thereafter in which either S or K are eligible to be claimed as a dependent on either parent’s tax returns, the eligible child, or children, shall be claimed on the tax return of the parent who would obtain the greatest financial benefit from claiming the exemptions. The parent claiming the exemptions for either child during these years shall share the financial benefit with the other parent by paying that parent one-half of the tax benefit obtained from the exemptions by June 1st of the following year.