To claim a child as a dependent, that child had to live with you for over half the year. If the child did not live with you at all during the year, it is typically the case that the custodial parent is entitled to claim that child as a dependent instead. However, you may be able to claim the child as a dependent if the custodial parent signs a Form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption, or a form containing all of the same information listed on this form.
By completing Form 8332, the custodial parent would indicate that he or she wishes to release his or her claim to a dependency exemption for the child on the form for the tax year indicated. This may be required if the divorce/custody agreement indicates you must switch who claims the child each year for tax purposes. Without the form, you cannot claim a child who did not live with you as a dependent because they are the qualifying child of someone else.
To view Form 8332 and its instructions, click here. To include Form 8332 with your return, you must print it and complete it. Mail your return along with Form 8332 to the IRS for processing.
For more information on claiming exemptions for the children of divorced or separated parents, click here.