Can I claim my ex-mother-in-law on my taxes?

March 04, 2016 by Dave Du Val, EA
Woman in white sweater

Hey Dave,

I have a question about a head of household qualification.

I was married for over a decade before my husband and I divorced. My ex-husband later passed away, which left his mother, my ex-mother-in-law, needing someone to care for her. I took her into my home and have been caring for her for a couple of years now. Would my claiming her as a dependent qualify me to file as head of household? I know if I hadn't divorced her son, I would qualify, but since we did divorce does that change things?




Your willingness to take in your ex-mother-in-law and care for her is truly commendable. And the good news is that, from a tax standpoint, a relationship that is established by marriage such as your relationship with your mother-in-law, does not end with either divorce or with the death of the spouse. So, it would appear you may file as Head of Household, assuming your mother-in-law meets all the other tests to be a “qualifying relative,” and as long as you meet all the other tests for head of household.

Deductibly yours,

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