Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Can Orange County parents deduct child support on their taxes?

2016 may have brought many changes to Orange County families, and for some people the biggest change they faced in 2016 was a divorce. After two parents in Orange County divorce, the noncustodial parent generally pays child support to the custodial parent. Sometimes this adds up to a lot of money. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average amount of child support paid nationwide is $5,150. Parents paying child support may wonder, are these payments are tax deductible?

In general, no. Child support payments cannot be written off on your annual income tax returns. Child support is not considered to be income, so it cannot be tax deductible. In fact, you don't even report child support payments on your income tax forms or schedules. Keep in mind however, that spousal support -- also called spousal maintenance or alimony -- is considered taxable income, and these payments need to be reported on your income tax forms.

So is there any relationship between having custody of your child after a divorce and income taxes? For some parents, the answer is "yes." Depending on what was decided in your divorce decree, either you or your ex may be able to claim the child as a dependent for income tax purposes, if the right requirements are met. Usually it is the parent that the child lives with that gets this benefit, although under very stringent conditions, the noncustodial parent might claim the child on his or her tax return. Also, if you paid over 50 percent of the household costs of the home where the child resides, you might be able to file as "head of household," which can also have tax advantages.

Once the holiday season winds up, people in Orange County may be starting to prepare their annual income taxes. However, if you are divorced with a child, your tax returns become more complex. Therefore, divorced parents in Orange County may want to work with an attorney when preparing their income tax forms, to ensure they understand how their divorce decree affects their taxes.

Source: GoBankingRates, "Is Child Support Tax Deductible?" Valerie Rind, Dec. 7, 2016

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