Many people do not know that you have options for claiming dependents. And it could change over time if you choose. It might make more sense for the person who could financially benefit the most to claim the children as dependents each year. Or perhaps you agree to alternate, Dad one year and Mom the next. Or Mom takes kids 1 and 2 and Dad takes kid 3. You can fill out the forms each year with the IRS and it is absolutely legal, no tricky games being played that would trigger an audit.
How you plan to claim your dependents is something that should be included in your divorce agreement. If ever there is a dispute in the future, you need the document to support your position. In a March 27, 2013, Ask The Biz Brain column in the Star Ledger, the
father claimed both children this year even though the divorce decree states that starting this year the mother can claim the youngest son. The mom now has more paperwork to fill out to get this resolved, but it can get straightened out, because it is in her divorce decree. It is vital that it is stated in the divorce decree how each dependent is being claimed each year. Finding a good divorce mediator who can help you ask and answer the important questions about your finances is a good first step toward planning for your future.