In a case decided last month, the Court held that a Judge of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court has the authority to order the allocation of tax dependency exemptions for divorced parents. When parents divorce, only one parent is permitted to claim the tax dependency exemption for parties' minor child(ren) on his/her tax returns. For the 2013 tax year, the tax dependency exemption is $3,900 for each dependent (subject to phase out based upon certain income levels). Disputes between divorcing parties can arise regarding tax dependency exemptions because being able to claim the tax dependency exemption for the minor child(ren) may provide one party with real tax savings.
I recently attended the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). AFCC was founded in 1963, and now consists of more than 4,600 members, representing 49 states and 27 countries worldwide. Members include judges, court employees, private practice lawyers, mental health and dispute resolution professionals, policy advocates, policymakers, researchers, community agencies, academics and students. The association's work focuses on a wide range of topics of interest to a family law attorney such as mediation, custody evaluation, parent education, and parenting coordination. For the past 50 years, AFCC has been the leading interdisciplinary organization addressing the challenges of separation and divorce, and, in particular, the impact on children and families. I returned from this year's annual conference in Los Angeles with a wealth of information.