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Criteria for a qualifying child, so they need to check the agreement they made during the divorce.

In absence of such an agreement, the child is the qualifying child of the custodial parent (custody for more than half the year).

An important nit to pick since it shows up so often. The IRS wasn't a party to the divorce decree, nor was Congress. For Federal tax purposes, the custodial parent controls the exemption. Period. The noncustodial can claim the exemption only by producing a release signed by the custodial parent. See Publication 501. (This can be handled right in the decree, but you'd be amazed how many divorce lawyers know nothing about tax law.)

A wronged noncustodial parent who can't wring the required statement out of the custodial parent may have redress in state court, but not with the IRS.

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