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Can you deduct child support on your tax return?

In recognition that tax season is fast approaching, this blog will publish a few posts about the intersection of taxes and family law issues. This post will go over how child support is treated on your tax return. Child support is payments given by one spouse to the other parent. It is meant as a way to provide replace “care” that the paying spouse would normally provide. Child support payments are thus, nominally, “given” to the child but in reality, you remit them to the parent who is supposed to expend them on the child?s care.

As a preliminary matter, child support is not tax deductible. Child support is payments to support your child. Even though they are received by the other parent, the government does not take the position that is caring for your child should be a tax deduction.

Similarly, if you receive child support, you do not report it as income. If you receive support, you don?t report it because the income does not shift from the payor to you, the government taxes that income only once.

If this result seems unfair, keep in mind that this money is meant as a “replacement” for the care and support you would have given if you had the child more frequently. The parent who provides primary care receives the child support. It is thus believed that the parent who provides primary care is spending much of his or her money on the child, it simply isn?t recorded anywhere.

If you are engaged in a child support dispute, then you may want to call a lawyer for legal assistance. A lawyer can go over the nature of the dispute with you to craft a strategy to address it. Child support disputes are difficult to address because any mistakes made in these proceedings will follow you for years. You need to ensure that you present your best arguments.

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