When it comes to matters like claiming to be head of household there’s not a whole lot of gray area involved and it isn’t something that is assigned by the courts. It’s pretty much cut-and-dried – you’re either head of household or your not.
Claiming a child as a dependent for tax purposes? That’s a different story. This is something that can and will be assigned by the courts, and there are a number of factors they’ll take into consideration when making that determination. Not the least of those factors is how much each party is contributing toward the support of the child or children. Bear in mind however, the court will be looking at the actual amount of money spent, not just what has been ordered by the courts.
In a nutshell, if the court has ordered you to pay $100 per month in child support payments and to date, you have paid nothing, that $100 will not be considered in their determination since it is not money that has actually been paid. As an aside to that previous statement, remember what was said about contempt of court in a previous article concerning paying legal fees? Be advised that failure to keep up with child support payments may well be considered contempt of court and steps will be taken to ensure your compliance.
As always, every situation is unique. This series is intended to “start the thinking process” to take emotive choices out of a hard situation. Everyone’s situation is different, and this is not intended as legal advice. Please, speak to a divorce attorney prior to making any decisions, especially decisions based on a simple blog post. There are many mitigating factors that will go into the final divorce decree.