781.708.4445

info@levinedisputeresolution.com

Divorce Mediation Blog

Dependency Exemptions After Divorce: A Good Reminder From the Appeals Court

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In a recent case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court revisited the federal tax code’s provisions on the allocation of child dependency exemptions between divorced parents. In upholding a probate judge’s decision to award a child’s exemption to the non-custodial but child support-paying father, over the mother’s objection, the appellate court reviewed current tax regulations and concluded that state courts continue to have the power to direct the exemptions as deemed appropriate.

But, but that since the court’s judgment alone is insufficient to satisfy the IRS’ requirement that the custodial parent “release” the exemption, the appellate opinion clarified that the trial court must also specifically order the custodial parent to sign [and presumably deliver] an IRS Form 8332 release to make the assignment effective. The failure to sign or deliver the form, then, becomes the state court enforcement (contempt) trigger.

At first glance, we wondered: “why did they bother?” Most divorce lawyers are familiar with Form 8332 and its effect. Then, we asked why she bothered. The mother appeared to have no financial stake in the outcome of her own appeal (for which she presumably paid legal fees), since her income was too low to have the exemption save her any tax dollars, even if she did wrest the exemption back from the father. Perhaps, the associated federal tax credits made the exercise worthwhile, or maybe her motivations were non-financial.

Then, on second thought, we realized that the case is a useful reminder to all family law drafters. This includes Massachusetts divorce mediators who write separation agreements, lawyers who draft proposed judgments for judges and suggested awards for divorce arbitrators, and for arbitrators themselves, that best practice dictates that dependency exemption provisions make reference to Form 8332 and place an affirmative obligation on the releasing party to sign and deliver. Otherwise, a client who does have a discernible stake in the having the dependency exemption just may not get it.



Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.:



Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles


recent posts


tags

lawyer-attended mediation self-adjusting alimony child support health insurance divorce arbitration family law divorce mediation Baseball Players separation alimony orders divorce and family law Self-adjusting alimony orders Family Law Arbitration divorce litigation family mediation Massachusetts divorce lawyers Boston SJC arbitrators Massachusetts divorce mediators family law arbitrators divorce mediator Divorce Agreements Levine Dispute Resolutions divorce judgment mediators high-risk methodology Obamacare Twinkies MLB labor agreement lawyer health coverage divorce process how baseball arbitration works pre-ARA alimony Massachusetts alimony family law arbitrator lawyers divorce agreement facilitated negotiations Matrimonial Arbitration Levine Dispute Resolution traditional negotiations Same Sex Marriage General term alimony family law mediation mediator divorce arbitrators divorce and family law mediators Massachusetts alimony and child support divorce lawyers Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act Defense of Marriage Act Levine Dispute Resolution Center Alimony Reform Act med-arb alimony statute IRC §2704 disputes arbitrator special master DOMA resolve disputes medical benefits litigation mediations LDRC Uniform Arbitration Act Massachusetts The Seven Sins of Alimony Cohabitation support orders alimony reform legislation conciliation annulment divorced divorce arbitrator Child Support Guidelines arbitration alimony Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC Baseball rehabilitative alimony private dispute resolution divorce mediators alimony law family support Massachusetts lawyers Baseball Arbitration fraud Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly family and probate law disputes Divorce Chouteau Levine Major League Baseball Arbitration COLA med/arb mediation divorce mediations dispute resolution