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Divorce Tax Breaks based upon Children

Divorce brings choices regarding income tax filing. As a Rhode Island divorce attorney and mediator, practicing from Narragansett to East Greenwich, from Warwick to Providence and Barrington, Steven Hirsch understands that these tax considerations should be considered in a divorce.

Most people just think of the ability to "claim a deduction". Usually, the custodial parent can claim the dependant exemption deduction for the child, unless there is a written agreement to give it to the non-custodial parent, a signed IRS form 8332, over one-half of the child's support is provided by one or both parents and the child is in the custody of one or both parents for more than one half of the year. For 2012, this deduction is $3,800.

Also, consider that the following tax points should be considered and may be transferred (unless noted below) :

· Child Tax Credit - up to $1,000 for each eligible child

· Higher Education Tax Credits - worth up to $2,500 for the first 4 years of a child's college education.

· Student Loan Interest Deduction - up to $2,500 of qualified student loan interest expense paid by a parent.

· Tuition Deduction - up to $4,000 for higher education tuition and mandatory enrollment fees.

· Itemized deductions for a child's medical expenses paid by each parent.

· Tax free health savings account distributions for a child's medical expenses.

· Head of Household filing status - only for the custodial parent.

· Earned Income Tax Credit - only for the custodial parent and worth up to $3,169 for one child and up to $5,891 for more children. Phased out as parent's income increases.

· Child Care Tax Credit - custodial parent only - from $600 - $1,050 for one qualifying child; $1,200 - $2,100 for two or more children based upon parent's income.

These rules are explained in detail in IRS Publication 504 (Divorce or Separated Individuals at

Reference: The Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, "Child-Related Tax Breaks After Divorce", By Bill Bischoff, March 28, 2012.

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