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Who Gets to Claim the Children?

Normally, the parent who is awarded the physical custody of the children is also awarded the right to claim the children as dependents for income tax purposes because that parent usually has the children with him or her more than 50% of the time and provides more than 50% of the children's economic and non-economic support. There are, exceptions, however, to this general rule.

The courts may also consider:

  • the value of the exemption at the marginal tax rate of each parent;
  • the income of each parent;
  • the age of the children and how long the exemption will be available;
  • the percentage of the cost of supporting the children borne by each parent; and
  • the financial burden assumed by each parent in the case.

If there is more than one child, the exemption may be divided. The exemption may also be alternated in different years. It is also possible for one parent to voluntarily waive the right to claim one or more of the children as a dependent for income tax purposes. That allows the parties to a divorce case to use the dependency as a negotiation point.


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In order to file for divorce in Mississippi, a party must give grounds for divorce and prove them with evidence or testimony. Mississippi recognizes the following grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences (which is no-fault) and other grounds that include impotence, adultery, incarceration, felony conviction, drug or alcohol abuse, insanity for at least a three-year period, the wifes pregnancy by someone else without the husband being aware, willful desertion for at least one year, cruel and inhuman treatment, incest, and one spouse lacking the mental capability to consent to terminate a marriage.
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