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I have a hypothetical question about dependents. Here's the fact situation:

The dependent is a 10-yr old child. During the year, the child's parents were divorced and did not live together. The child lived for 4 months with his mother (M), 3 months with his father, and 5 months with his grandparent.The parents together paid more than half of the child's total support for the year, although mother paid more than the father as per their respective time periods of co-habitation with the child.

As long as the child is in the custody of one or both parents for more than 6 months of the year, and as long as the parents provide more than half the support for the child, the IRS seems to allow the NON-CUSTODIAL parent to claim the child as a Qualified Child as long as the custodial parent agrees to sign form 8332. So here, the father would be able to claim the child as his Qualified Child as long as he was able to get the mother to sign Form 8332.

But what about the case where the mother wants to claim the child? She has the power to provide a dependent for the father simply by signing Form 8332, but it seems to me that she has no right to claim the child for herself if she so chooses. It seems awfully perverse that the father, who is NOT the custodial parent, and who paid less for the child's support than the mother, is able to claim the child (with the mother's signed permission) but the mother, who is the custodial parent and who paid more for the child's support than the father, cannot.

If I am wrong here, and in fact the mother CAN somehow claim the child, can somebody point me to the language that allows this? From my reading of Publication 17, it seems that the custodial parent only gets to claim the child if he (the child) lived with the parent for more than half the year.

Thanks in advance,

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