Every parent paying child support should have one item on his or her to-do list beyond wrapping the Christmas presents and planning the holiday celebrations – check to make sure that you are current on your child support obligation for the year.
The Arizona Child Support Guidelines and the vast majority of Child Support Orders entitle a parent to claim a dependency exemption when it is the parent’s turn for that exemption ONLY IF all support payments due during the year have been made by December 31. This means that if you are supposed to claim your kid on taxes for 2017, your right to do so is conditioned on being current in your support obligation. If December 31 comes and goes with a support obligation outstanding, the other parent will get to claim the exemption, and you will still owe the support (plus ten percent interest!).
For parents that owe child support arrears or past care and support obligations, be aware that this limitation does not mean that you have to pay the entire judgment within the year to be allowed to claim a dependency exemption. Instead, the court looks at whether you have paid the monthly amount due on the obligation to decide if you are entitled to the dependency exemption.
Even parents who pay through Income Withholding Orders where the money is automatically deducted through paychecks should be wary, particularly if child support has been adjusted during the year. It is very common for a payment to be missed or be incomplete when new support paperwork is being entered, and often time the paying parent has no idea that the total amount of support due was not paid.
Do yourself a favor and give yourself the gift of ensuring your entitlement to a dependency exemption. Check to make sure you are current in your support obligation for the year now so you have enough time to correct any problems before the end of the year.