Child Dependency Deduction At Issue in Divorce Case

October 5, 2011 | Erin Herbold-Swalwell

In this divorce case, the trial court entered a decree in early 2011 ordering the parties to share joint legal custody of their minor child and for the parties to claim the child as a dependent for income tax purposes in alternating years. The ex-wife appealed on several issues, including the tax issue. She claimed, on appeal, that she should have been awarded the tax exemption for the minor child each year and further claimed that awarding the tax exemption each year to her would be in the child’s best interests. She claimed that she would use the money from the tax refund exclusively for the child. The appellate court held that the trial court had the authority to award the tax exemption in order to “achieve an equitable resolution of the economic issues.” Thus, the parent who has physical care of the child is entitled to claim the tax exemption. Here, the parties had joint physical care. Thus, the trial court’s decision was affirmed.  Greve v. Anderegg, No. 1-680/11-0369, 2011 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 931 (Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 21, 2011).