Who gets Child Tax Benefits under Shared Custody

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Who gets the child tax benefits when it comes to shared custody.   Not all marriages have a happy ending.  In fact, a big percentage ends in divorce, not a friendly divorce, but a hostile one.  In such case,  the divorced or separated parents may no longer talk to each other, and the child tax benefits become an issue, even in shared custody.

The Child Tax Benefit (CTB) is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.   Who gets the Child Tax Benefit is pretty straight-forward, until there is a separation or divorce, and child custody arrangements have changed.

Who is eligible for child tax benefits?
The ITA says you are eligible for child benefits if you are a parent “who primarily fulfills the responsibility for the care and upbringing of the qualified dependant” all of the time or, in cases of shared custody, “when residing with” the eligible dependent child.   Traditionally, it has been the female parent who lives with the child who is considered primarily responsible for the care of a child.

Here is an excerpt from McLeans.

If you show CRA that you’re sharing custody on an equal or nearly equal basis, then the agency will separately pay each parent 50 per cent of the child benefits they would otherwise receive if they were the only caregiver.

The CRA has methods of checking in on parents to make sure those who claim to be “primarily responsible” really are. They do things like ask to see a court order dealing with the child’s living arrangements, a child’s report card or a letter from a family doctor attesting to which parent brings the child to medical appointments.


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