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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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Child support in the state of Mississippi is calculated using the Percentage of Income formula. This is the most basic method for calculating child support and does not take into consideration many details that most people consider important.
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