August 15, 2017

Misconception of Month for August – “You don’t see the kids, you can’t take the dependency exemptions.”

Monthly Misconception for August – “You don’t see the kids, you can’t take the dependency exemptions.”

Untrue, according to a recent Connecticut Superior Court decision.  At least for the moment, you are probably safe to assume that if the divorce judgment gives one parent the right to claim a child as a dependency exemption then that parent doesn’t lose the right just because he or she fails to spend any time with the child after the divorce.   

The case is Hoyt v. Hoyt.  In their divorce judgment, the divorcing parents agreed how to allocate between themselves the right to claim the children as dependency exemptions in any particular year. When one parent, Parent A, failed to see the children for three years in a row, the other parent, Parent B, returned to court seeking a modification of the divorce judgment, in particular asking that  Parent A lose his right to take the dependency exemption.   The court denied the request of Parent B, finding that allocation of the dependency exemption at the time of a divorce is a property division and therefore cannot be changed after the divorce for any reason including failure to exercise visitation.

Remember though that the decisions of a particular Superior Court judge in a particular case aren’t necessarily binding on another judge sitting in another Connecticut case.  We’ll all need to wait to see whether and how the Connecticut Appellate Court or Supreme Court address this issue in the future so that we have a more definitive and permanent answer.  


Feel free to contact me via email,, or telephone, 203-271-3888, if you’d like to explore this important divorce issue further.  

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