Okay. This is an interesting case.
A ex-husband and ex-wife have four children. In the decree of their divorce, ex-wife gives ex-husband the right to claim the children for Child Tax Credit from the IRS in exchange for his making a monthly child support payment.
He pays child support for a while and all is fine, less than a year later, he is considered disabled due to heart disease, and thus absolved of all responsibility to support his children. The payments stop for the ex-wife, and she has not received money from him since.
Now, 5 years later, the ex-husband has been consistently receiving a tax credit every year for all the children. He does not pay a child support payment, or in fact support the children in any way. They do not live with him for any part of the year, although occasionally the youngest will stay with him for a weekend. The elder 3 children are now college students and see their father only on holidays, and within the last year, the eldest 2 have become completely estranged from their father. Essentially, the father has no involvement at all with his children - emotionally, financially, etc. - but feels he is entitled to the tax credit because it is agreed upon in the divorce decree.
His condition has improved enough that he has been able to be employed for the last 3 years, but still does not pay child support.
This, to me, is atrociously wrong morally...a man taking money that is intended to supplement the money that he is supposed to have spent supporting children, and spending it on himself. Taking it out of the hands of his ex-wife who is the only means of financial support for the children.
but does this man actually have a legal right to make the claim on his children? Surely, since he's not paying child support, that part of the divorce decree should be considered null and void.
Furthermore, if this is the case - how does the ex-wife go about bringing this injustice to the attention of the IRS?