A common question among parents divorcing in Alabama is how to handle the tax exemption for the children. First, the exemption belongs to the parent with whom the child lives more than half the year, and most judges will assume that in their order. If your decree is silent about who gets the tax exemption, that means it belongs to the Custodial Parent (CP).
Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration makes it clear that the Alabama child support guidelines are formulated on the assumption that the CP will be keeping and using the exemptions for all the children. If the CP chooses to transfer some or all the exemptions to the NCP, he or she is being generous and may justifiably insist on compensation.
If your judge has ordered the exemption to be shared in some different way, the CP will need to deliver to the NCP a fully filled-out and signed IRS Form 8332. The IRS probably will not accept the court’s decree alone. If you’re the NCP with such an order and the CP refuses to deliver the signed Form 8332, you’ll need to follow the steps for enforcing the decree.
You can transfer the tax exemption using Form 8332, but you cannot transfer the right to claim head-of-household filing status. If you’re not married and don’t meet the statutory definition of a head of household, you must file simply as a single taxpayer.