2.3.1 Determining Who is a Custodial Parent

Only one W-2 Group may receive a W-2 payment for a Dependent Child.  When there is no legal custody or placement order, the Parent with whom the dependent child resides is the Custodial Parent (CP).  Dependent children must be included in the household where they reside.  

There may be situations when the primary residence of a dependent child is not easily determined.  If the primary residence of a dependent child is questionable, court documents can be used to determine if there is a primary caretaker designated.  

If there is joint legal custody of a child and the custody is split equally in half, the parents can be asked to decide which parent is considered the primary caretaker.  If the parents cannot or will not decide, the FEP should compare the parents' activities and responsibilities against the following list and determine which one is exercising more control than the other:

1.             If the parents reside in different school districts, where does the child attend school? Who selected the school? 

2.             Who assists the child with homework or school-related tasks? 

3.             Are there tuition costs for the child's education? If so, who pays those costs? 

4.             If the child is enrolled in day care, who arranges for and pays these costs? 

5.             Who is responsible for taking the child to and from school and/or day care? 

6.             Which parent is listed as the contact for emergencies at the child's school or day care provider? 

7.             Who arranges medical and dental care for the child? Who selects the physician and dentist? 

8.             Who maintains the child's medical records? 

9.             Who initiates decisions regarding the child's future? 

10.         Who responds to medical or law enforcement emergencies involving the child? 

11.         Who spends money on food or clothing for the child when the child visits the absent parent? 

12.         Who disciplines the child? 

13.         Who plays with the child and arranges for entertainment? 

14.         Are more of the child's toys, clothing, etc. kept at one parent's home than the other's?

FEPs must use the best information available to make a decision, and document in case comments the basis of the determination.



History: There are no previous versions of this policy.