Co-parenting is a word that seems to have become more popular these days, but what it describes isn’t all that new. A lot of separated parents, whether by divorce or never marrying at all, find a way to work together so that their kids are happy and healthy. This includes extra-curricular activities, and scheduling is often complex.
Take the story of a mom and dad that had a child together, but were never married. When the child was young, they created a conciliation agreement, a type of separation available in the jurisdiction. This agreement set out a very specific joint custody schedule for the child concerning time spent with each parent, from weekdays to weekends and holidays. Of course, as the child grew, his schedule changed.
The child began to show an intense interest in football and basketball, two sports that required a significant amount of time devoted to practice and games. It made the plan determined years earlier less adequate for their situation. That was okay for these parents, and they worked it out that the boy would spend more time at the dad’s house during these years.
This story is probably a familiar, average story. What brought it to the national platform was tax issues; specifically, the father had been levied with a fine for claiming the child as a dependent for two of the years during this altered schedule. In this case, the conciliation agreement failed to award a parent with the dependency exemption. The tax court sided with the father, acknowledging the co-parenting schedule.
Tax issues are one thing, and two parents may not ever hit this particular snag. However, the story shows that child custody agreements determined with the utmost thought may not work so well in the future.
Modification of an agreement in Texas can help adjust these arrangements to fit the needs of the child as their needs in life also change. A formal modification also provides that extra layer of protection because it is enforceable in court.
Source: Forbes, “Football Dad Beats IRS In Tax Court,” April 25, 2014