Do we claim all children (and stepchildren) on our taxes, or only the ones living with us?

I am the custodial parent and am remarried. My husband is my daughter step parent. My husband has 3 kids of his own which he pays child support for. He is not the custodial parent of his 3. He gets to claim 1 on his taxes. One of his kids is going to college and 1 of mine. I have 2 kids. Do we claim all 7 of us as the number in our household or only the ones living here. Also for his child going to college does his ex wife have to claim all 3 of the kids on her taxes to have all qualify for being in her household. Very confused on how to handle this situation.

Asked by Kris via Contact Us.
In Topics: Blended families
> 60 days ago



Feb 2, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

It is confusing when you blend a family. Deciding who gets to "claim" the child is usually based on your separation or divorce agreement. These negotiations are made based on child support and where the child primarily lives.

So, I can't answer your question based on the information you have given, it's up to what has been negotiated. I do know that both biological mom and dad, living in separate homes, cannot both claim the same child.  If you have not made those negotiations, now is a good time to figure this out (since taxes are due soon.)

I wish you the best.

Shirley Cress Dudley
Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
Blended and single parent expert.

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Additional Answers (1)

bdmstaylor02 writes:
In my experience, being a parent and step-parent & my husband being the same, it really depends on the custody agreement. Did you/he lay that out in the agreement? How have you been claiming the children up to this point? When it comes to college aged students then I have to admit I am at a loss. My oldest children will be in 9th and 11th grades this year. I believe the custody agreement still holds the key, but you might want to check with your county courthouse they maybe able to answer your question legally.
> 60 days ago

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