KARLEE A. DODGE, f/k/a Karlee A. Sturdevant, Appellant,
FRANK W. STURDEVANT III, Appellee
Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks, Bethany Harbison, Judge. Superior Court No. 4FA-11-02089 CI.
Craig B. Partyka, Cook Schuhmann & Groseclose, Inc., Fairbanks, for Appellant.
Margaret O'Toole Rogers, Foster & Rogers, LLC, Fairbanks, for Appellee.
Before: Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen, and Bolger, Justices.
The superior court ordered that divorced parents each claim one of their two children for the federal income tax dependency exemption. Both children resided primarily with the mother, and the court ordered her to sign and file a federal form waiving her exemption for one child. The mother appeals, arguing the superior court lacked authority to order her to sign the waiver form. We adopt the majority view that a custodial parent may be ordered to sign the waiver form, and affirm the court's order.
II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
Karlee Dodge and Frank Sturdevant entered into a partial settlement agreement as part of their divorce proceeding. The agreement provided that they would share legal custody of their two children, but that Dodge would have primary physical custody. The superior court then held a trial to determine several unresolved financial issues, including who would claim the children as dependents for federal income tax purposes.
The superior court issued an order for Dodge and Sturdevant each to claim one child for the federal income tax dependency exemption. The court made clear that " [t]he parties, specifically [Dodge], are required to comply with all IRS rules and regulations necessary to implement this Order. Specifically, [Dodge] is required to complete and sign IRS Form 8332 annually." Dodge filed a motion to stay the superior court's order, arguing that the order " is contrary to, and inconsistent with, federal law" because her signature on Form 8332 would not be voluntary. The court denied Dodge's motion.
Dodge appeals the order requiring her to sign Form 8332.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Whether the superior court has authority to order a parent to sign Form 8332 is a question of law. We review questions of law de novo, applying our independent judgment and adopting the rule of law most ...