Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Case Law Development: Allocation of Dependency Tax Exemptions

Just in time for tax preparation season, the Iowa Court of Appeals reverses a trial court's decision modifying a divorce decree to allocate the dependency exemptions to the non-custodial parent.  The original decree was silent on the issue of exemptions, but under the state's child support guidelines those exemptions should ordinarily be allocated to the custodial parent (in this case, mother). Father moved to modify the decree and the trial court found that father, as the higher-earning parent, would benefit more from the tax exemptions than would mother. 

The court of appeals reversed, finding no equitable reason to deviate from that rule that the custodial parent should receive the tax exemption.  A concurring judge would have found that the original decree implicitely addressed the issue given the guidelines and that Father had shown no change in circumstances justifying an amendment.

In re Marriage of Wetherbee, 2006 Iowa App. LEXIS 53 (January 19, 2006)
Opinion available on the web (last visited January 22, 2006 bgf)

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