MN Divorce and Income Tax Exemptions

Often people who divorce in Minnesota forget to address the issue of the income tax depdency exemptions for their minor children.  This issue should not be overlooked because, cumulatively, it could save a spouse tens of thousands of dollars on his or her income tax return.

From the perspective of the Internal Revenue Service, after parents are divorced, the parent who has the children in his or her care more than 6 months out of the year has the right to claim the income tax dependency exemption for the children.  However, regardless of what the IRS says, a Minnesota divorce court can award the exemptions to the parent who has the children in his or her care less than 6 months out of the year.  They do this because both parents are liable for support and both parents should be able to claim the exemptions.

If there is one child, usually courts order that the parents alternate claiming the exemption from year to year.  If there are two children, usually each parent is awarded the right to claim one exemption.  If there is an odd number of children, usually the exemption for the odd-numbered child is alternated between the parents year to year.

If a person who is getting divorced has young children, he or she could be claiming the income tax dependency exemption for 15 or more years.  If you do the math, the cumulative impact of this is worth a very significant amount of money.

Do not overlook the income tax dependency exemptions when getting divorced.

Daniel Fiskum is a Minnesota divorce attorney who has been practicing since 1992. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and has been named a "Super Lawyer" by the Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics. Mr. Fiskum is currently writing a book for attorneys and non-attorneys entitled "The Streetfighter's Guide to Divorce," which is scheduled for publication in May, 2010. Many of his blog entries will appear in the book. You may contact attorney Fiskum directly at (952) 270-7700. His office is located in the Carlson Towers in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The Fiskum Law website is found at

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