How to Handle Stimulus Checks During Your Divorce

stimulus checks and divorce

How to Handle Stimulus Checks During Your Divorce

The latest round of stimulus checks are making their way to millions of Americans this month. This time, individuals can expect to receive up to $1400 if they qualify under certain income restrictions—and families could receive even more. If you are recently divorced or in the middle of a divorce, you may have some questions regarding the stimulus checks. Read our answers to some common questions to learn more.

Do I have to share my stimulus payment with my spouse or ex-spouse?

The short answer is it depends. If you’ve finalized your divorce and have a valid separation agreement or court order in place, look to the controlling document to see if there is a provision that touches on this issue. You may need to contact your attorney to verify.

If you’re in the middle of negotiating a separation agreement, these funds could have a part to play in your negotiation strategy. You should speak with your attorney about including language in your agreement that addresses these or any future stimulus checks.

It’s important to note that if you or your ex is behind in child support, the IRS will likely garnish that amount from the stimulus check before you or your spouse receives the funds.

What if I receive my spouse/ex-spouse’s stimulus money?

Since the stimulus checks are based off your 2019 or 2020 tax returns, you may end up receiving your spouse or ex-spouse’s portion of the stimulus check (or vice versa). If that’s the case, you should contact your attorney to discuss what to do with the funds. You’ll likely need to make arrangements to transfer their portion of the funds to them, but your circumstances may be unique so it’s always a good idea to check with your attorney first.

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Who gets my child’s portion of the stimulus money?

Because the stimulus check is based on your latest tax return, the portion allocated to your child will go to the head of household or the person who claimed the child as a dependent on the most recent filed tax return. That being said, circumstances may have changed since the filing of your last tax return. If that’s the case and you believe all or a portion of your child’s money went to the wrong parent, contact your attorney to discuss your legal rights.

What if I had a baby in 2021?

If you had a child in 2021, you won’t be entitled to an additional $1400 during the third round of stimulus checks. However, you can claim your child in your 2021 tax returns to receive the $1400 recovery rebate credit at that time.

Stimulus checks can affect several areas of your family law case, including equitable distribution, spousal support, and child support. If you’re in the middle of a divorce, it’s important to speak with your attorney and create a sound legal strategy for handling the money. Our family law attorneys have over 30 years combined experience helping clients navigate the divorce process. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and find out your legal rights regarding the latest round of stimulus checks and how it can affect your case.