“My question is, can I list the children as dependents for the purpose of filing for head of household for the earned income credit without asking for the child tax credit which my ex would claim for himself or do I have to file as single with no dependents?”---->HOH is often the most advantageous filing status for single parents. is one of five different filing status options available to taxpayers, and is often the most advantageous filing status for single parents. For Head of Household, you need to have provided more than half the cost of maintaining the household and they must live with you for more than half the year(The household must be your home and generally must also be the main home of the qualifying dependent (i.e. they live there more than half the year));for example, assume that as long as you lived with your kids,qualifying children, for MORE than ½ of the year, then you can file HOH by claiming those two kids on your return, OR you and your ex can live with each kid for more than ½ of the year and each of you can file your own return as HOH.Some divorced and separated couples will often split the child-related tax benefits. One person will claim the dependent, and the other will claim head of household. This is allowable under current tax laws. The caveat is that only the custodial parent (the parent with whom the child resides for more than half the year) can claim HOH. The custodial parent should also fill out Form 8332 for child of divorced or separated parents, to allow the non-custodial parent to claim the child as a dependent for a particular year (so that he can claim child tax credit). The noncustodial parent cannot claim HOH using that dependent because they won't meet the residency requirement. Basically, for HOH filing, the person who provides more than half of the total support of a ‘qualifying person(qualifying child/ qualifying relative) is eligible to take that filing status.NOTE; to see which one of you can claim the child, add up the nights. The one with the most nights with the child is the custodial parent and gets the exemption, HoH, Child Tax Credit, Dependent Care Credit, and EIC. Unless a properly worded court order says otherwise OR the custodial parent voluntarily surrenders the exemption (Form 8332) in which case the non-custodial parent gets the exemption and Child Tax Credit as described above. The custodial parent retains everything else HOH, EIC, etc.