How to Divide a Stimulus Check if You Are Divorced?
As the third round of COVID-19 stimulus checks are coming to American families, many divorced and divorcing people as well as separated/divorced parents wonder, “How do we divide the stimulus payments?”
What is the stimulus check?
The third round of Economic Impact Payments, commonly referred to as “stimulus checks,” are calculated as follows:
- Up to $1,400 per a qualifying individual
- $2,800 for qualifying couples who file tax returns jointly
- $1,400 for each dependent child under the age of 17
- $2,000 per qualifying adult dependent
Technically, the stimulus check is a tax refund that provides $2,800 for couples who file a joint tax return. The stimulus payment is deposited into the account that was specified on your tax return provided to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you have recently divorced or separated and only one of you received the full stimulus check, you will need to negotiate to split the payment evenly or equitably. If you cannot agree on how to divide the stimulus payment, it is advised to consult with an Orlando family lawyer to help you resolve the disagreement.
Who will receive the stimulus check?
The stimulus payment is considered a tax refund. Who receives the stimulus check depends on the information provided on your tax return for 2020 or 2019 if your taxes for 2020 were not filed yet.
When a couple is divorced or in the middle of divorce proceedings, stimulus checks or any other tax refunds are subject to equitable distribution. However, it is vital to review your divorce decree, marital settlement agreement, or parenting plan to determine whether it says anything about the division of tax refunds for tax returns filed prior to the divorced.
It is helpful to consult with an Orlando property division attorney to review your unique case and determine how the stimulus payment should be divided in your situation.
What if we alternate claiming our children on tax returns?
Many divorced parents alternate claiming their children on tax returns as dependents. If that’s what you and your ex-spouse do, the division of a stimulus check may get even more complicated and confusing.
As mentioned earlier, the stimulus check includes the payment of $1,400 for each dependent child under the age of 17. But which parent will receive the $1,400 payment for each qualifying child?
The parent who last claimed the qualifying child on their tax return for 2020 (or 2019 if 2020 taxes have not been filed) will get the stimulus payment for that child.
Unless your divorce decree, marital settlement agreement, or parenting plan contains a clause regarding the division of stimulus payments or tax refunds, you will have to settle your dispute through collaborative law, mediation, or litigation.
What to do if I received my former spouse’s stimulus payment?
If you received your ex-spouse’s stimulus payment because you filed for tax returns jointly before your divorce, you might want to consider forwarding their share to them.
When the full amount of the stimulus payment was deposited into your account, half of that payment belongs to your ex-spouse. Keeping your former spouse’s stimulus payment may be illegal.
If you cannot resolve your dispute regarding the division of the stimulus payment, you should speak with an experienced Orlando family lawyer. Schedule a consultation with our family lawyers at Donna Hung Law Group to discuss your options. Call 407-999-0099.