If a child receives over half of his support from his parents, and lives with one of them for over half of the year, generally the parent with the physical custody claims the child on the tax return. However, the noncustodial parent can claim the child in the following situations:
1. The parents must be divorced, legally separated, or living apart for the last six months of the year.
2. At least one or both of the parents have to provide over 50% of the child’s support for the year. (If grandma or the state is providing over 50% of the child’s support, then neither parent claims the child.)
3. The child needs to have been in the custody of one or both parents for more than six months of the year.
4. The custodial parent needs to “release” the exemption to the noncustodial parent with Form 8332. The noncustodial parent will attach the Form 8332 to his/her tax return. Copies of a divorce or separation agreement entered into prior to 2009 can be used instead of this form IF the agreement met the requirements for doing so in the year it was executed. If copies of these agreements are used instead of Form 8332, it is very important to be sure to include copies of the appropriate pages.