Release of dependency exemption trumps child support

In two recent cases, the Tax Court ruled on the validity of a dependency exemption release to a noncustodial parent. Taken together, the cases illustrate how a properly executed and filed Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent, is the key to releasing a claim of exemption and outweighs state court orders.

In Armstrong, the court denied the deduction and child tax credit to a noncustodial father who did not attach Form 8332 to his 2007 tax return. The taxpayer, Billy Armstrong, did attach a copy of an “arbitration award” indicating he would be entitled to the dependency exemption for one of his and his ex-wife’s two children if he stayed current with child support. Upon audit, he also provided a 2003 state court order that incorporated the arbitration award and a 2007 state court order signed by the ex-wife that explicitly required the ex-wife to provide him with an executed Form 8332 or its equivalent if his support payments were current, which they were. The IRS rejected his claim because the award and orders were conditioned upon current payment of child support. The majority opinion of the Tax Court agreed that the state court orders did not unconditionally declare that Armstrong’s ex-wife would not claim the exemption and therefore could not substitute for Form 8332.

Written by Karyn Bybee Friske and Darlene Pulliam. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Military Divorce and Separation Child/Spouse Support and Garnishment Issues

Each of the military services have regulations which require members to “provide adequate support” to family members. However, here’s the rub: The military has absolutely no authority (without a court order) to *force* an individual to pay such support against his/her will. If a military member fails to provide support, the military can (and does) punish an individual, but such punishment is usually covered under the Privacy Act of 1974, and the military is not allowed to discuss the punishment with anyone. Obviously, this upsets a lot of spouses who claim nonsupport, and feel that the military is not doing anything to help them. Unfortunately, the military’s hands are tied by law in this area.

Exactly what constitutes “adequate support” differs from service-to-service. For example, Army Regulation 608-99, “FAMILY SUPPORT, CHILD CUSTODY, AND PATERNITY, requires a soldier to provide an amount equal to BAH Type II, at the “With Dependent Rate,” at the with dependent rate, unless there is a court order or written agreement providing for a different amount. If the soldier has more than one support obligation, that amount is divided equally among the supported parties. For example, if the BAH Type II with depenent rate for a soldier’s rank is $400 per month, and he separates from a wife and child, he must pay $200 per month each, unless there is a court order or written agreement stating otherwise. This is not an “absolute” requirement, however — the regulation contains provisions which allow the commander to waive requirements in certain cases, such as when the spouse makes more money than the soldier, or the soldier is a victim of abuse, or the family member is in jail.

Written by Rod Powers. To read the full article, click here.