Stimulus Checks and Divorce

Now that the latest round of stimulus checks are being distributed, you may be wondering how to handle these checks while undergoing a divorce. First off, it’s important to note that the latest checks come with financial restrictions, and not all individuals qualify. According to the American Rescue Act, single adults who reported $75,000 or less in adjusted gross income on their 2019 or 2020 tax return will receive the total $1,400 payments, as will heads of household who reported $112,500 or less. Couples filing jointly who earned $150,000 or less in adjusted gross income will receive the full $2,800. These checks will decrease for those who made more. If you or your spouse are currently going through a divorce, be sure to review your stimulus status online or with your accountant. Follow along as we answer the most common questions about how to handle your stimulus check while undergoing a divorce.

Will I be obligated to share my stimulus check with my ex-spouse?

Possibly. This is dependent on your separation agreement. Contact your attorney as soon as you receive your stimulus payment to verify any agreement the court might have put in place. If you are in the middle of a divorce and negotiating, talk to your attorney about including language about handling this or any future stimulus checks. Alternatively, if your ex has not paid their child support, the US government will be issuing their stimulus check as payment.

What do I do if I receive my ex-spouse’s stimulus check?

Contact your attorney immediately. Depending on your agreement, you may be eligible to half the check. Also, if you’re in the middle of a divorce where a restraining order has been issued, it’s essential not to contact your ex-spouse if it could put you in any harm. Again, check in with your attorney as soon as possible to understand next steps.

The government issued stimulus money for my child; who keeps this portion?

The head of household or the person who claimed the child as a dependent on your latest tax return is eligible to the funds allocated to your child. If you feel this may be incorrect in any way, contact your attorney. He or she will be able to discuss your legal rights to the refund.

How will the refund affect me if I had a baby in early 2021?

Unfortunately, you do not qualify for the children’s portion of the stimulus check. Again, the stimulus will be dependent on your latest tax return. Talk to your accountant on how to file your taxes if you are undergoing a divorce or have already divorced. For legal questions, talk to your attorney to understand any agreements placed during your divorce.

Remember, past or future stimulus checks can affect you legally, so it’s important to talk to your family attorney or to contact an attorney you can trust. C.Y. Lee Legal Group, PLLC has more than a decade of experience helping families through the divorce process. They are committed to finding the best solution for your case while keeping your best interests in mind throughout the process. Contact them today for a free consultation.

For more helpful divorce tips, check out our other blogs.

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