When an individual does not qualify under the special rules for divorce or separated individuals, the general support tests apply. Generally, one must provide more than half the support of an individual to meet one of the tests for dependency. However the Courts and the I. R. S. maintain certain special rules in the case of lodging expenses for married and divorce or separated spouses.

An individual, to qualify for head of household, must meet two tests established under Internal Revenue Code Section 2(b)(1), Definition of Head of Household, described as following (abbreviated):

1. Filing Status Test

Not married at the close of his taxable year and is not a surviving spouse (Sec. 2(b)(1)) or Not considered married under Section 7703(b) (Sec. 2(c))

2. Household Maintenance Test

Maintains as his or her home a household which constitutes for more than one-half of the taxable year, the principal place of abode, as a member of such household, of a son, stepson, daughter, or stepdaughter of the taxpayer, or a descendant of a son or daughter of the taxpayer (Sec. 2(b)(1)(A)(i)), or any other person who is a dependent of the taxpayer under Section 152, if the taxpayer is entitled to a deduction for the taxable year for such person under Section 151 (Sec. 2(b)(1)(A)(ii)).

Regulations Section 1.2-2(d) lists items that are considered costs of maintaining a household and those that are not considered costs of providing a household. These items are not necessarily the same as those counted in providing support for purposes of claiming the dependency exemption. Under no circumstances can the same person be held to qualify more than one taxpayer as the head of a household hold for the same tax year. This means that joint custody or shared parenting cannot be constructed to qualify both parents as head of household.

SOURCE: DivorceSource