COVID-19 Stimulus Payments During Separation and Divorce in NJ

Many Americans are receiving Stimulus Checks as a result of the coronavirus stimulus package. Contact a Passaic County Divorce Attorney Today to Protect Your Rights

COVID-19 Stimulus Payments During Separation and Divorce in NJThese payments have generated questions regarding entitlement and their impact on property division, support, and child custody in the context of a divorce or separation.

The starting point for a stimulus check is $1,200 per adult or $2,400 for married couples filing jointly, and an additional $500 per qualifying child (generally, a dependent child under age 17 at the end of the qualifying tax year).


How Do I Get The Money?

Stimulus checks are disbursed in the same fashion as your 2019 tax refund (or 2018 refund if you have not filed a 2019 return).  Therefore, if you and your spouse/ex-spouse filed jointly on your last tax return but have since separated, the check is deposited in the same account or mailed to the same address as your most recent tax refund.

Ideally, you and your former spouse have an open line of communication and can work together to find a solution. You may simply divide the check equally. In most cases, your Divorce Decree has a clause regarding taxes, including the sharing of any tax refunds or liabilities for a set period of time. These clauses may provide guidance to you and your former spouse as you try to resolve this issue.

What If I Was Married For The Applicable Tax Filing, But I Am Separated From My Spouse Now?

Funds will be direct deposited based on the bank information from your 2019 tax filing. If you have not filed for 2019, then your 2018 filing will apply.

If you filed “jointly” with your spouse for the 2018 tax year, but have separated from your spouse since filing, then it is best to file your 2019 taxes as soon as possible. You will need to notify the IRS of your updated status of “separated” or “single”.

It is not likely that the IRS will have updated information for couples who have separated since their 2019 tax filing. Couples who filed jointly for the 2019 tax year but separated after filing, may need to coordinate the division of the stimulus funds.

How Are The Payments For Children Allocated To Co-Parents?

Seek for the Guidance of a Wayne New Jersey Family Law Attorney TodayFor each qualifying child age 16 or under, there will be an additional payment of $500. The stimulus payments are based upon the 2019 tax filing. This means that if you claimed your child on your taxes in 2019, then you are likely to receive the $500 benefit for each child that you claimed as a dependent. If you have not filed taxes for 2019, then you should refer to your 2018 tax return.

The parent who claims each child would also, in theory, receive the associated stimulus money. On the other hand, for many, now may be an ideal time to show support to your co-parent by sharing the child portion of your Stimulus Check equally. For others, the funds may be mutually agreed upon to go to the parent who truly needs it most.

Will I Receive Payment If I Am Behind On My Child Support Payments?

No. The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill has not waived offsets for the past due to child support. This means that if you owe back child support, then you may receive a decreased stimulus check or no check at all. If your payment is intercepted by the department of the treasury, then the funds will be given to the child’s custodial parent.

What If My Ex and I Cannot Agree?

For many couples, the financial relief of the Stimulus Check is needed now. The cost to litigate this issue would likely far exceed the amount in dispute. The courts are backlogged, and a decision could take quite a while. Therefore, working out the issue amicably and through open communication is most beneficial, in regard to time and financial impact.

Sharing your Stimulus Check could show goodwill towards your co-parent and help you both put your children first while surviving this crisis. Considering the destination of your Stimulus Check and keeping your co-parent in mind during this time of need is your opportunity to peacefully collaborate with him or her.

What it boils down to is using the Stimulus Check for what is intended:  to give families a leg up financially in what is a very economically challenging time.  That being said if your family needs assistance to negotiate fund distribution or any other family law issue, feel free to contact us.

By listening carefully to all of your needs and concerns, and keeping you highly informed and involved throughout the legal process, we believe we can work together to achieve the results you need in your unique legal situation.

Seek for the Guidance of a Wayne New Jersey Family Law Attorney Today

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