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Who Gets the Stimulus Check When Spouses Are Separated or Divorcing?

Going through a divorce is stressful enough, but the coronavirus pandemic spreading throughout the United States presents additional complications for spouses who have decided to split. In addition to changes that might need to be made regarding custody and visitation arrangements while travel is restricted, negotiations over property division need to address any new economic circumstances. For example, the value of investments or business shares should be reviewed and possibly downgraded. Moreover, the stimulus checks that many Americans will receive under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act are assets that will become part of a couple’s marital estate and be subject to distribution among the spouses when the marriage ends.

If you’re ending your marriage or are legally separated and are unsure about how you will receive your disbursement from the government, here’s what you should know:

  • Filing status — Check disbursement is based on recipients’ most recently submitted tax return. If you’ve already filed your 2019 return, the status you used will determine if you and your spouse receive one payment (for those who file jointly) or two (married filing separately). Taxpayers who have not yet sent in their return (the deadline is now July 15) are classified based on their 2018 filing.
  • Income eligibility and child rebates — Spouses who file separate tax returns can each receive up to $1,200, but for any person whose annual individual income is more than $75,000, that amount begins to drop and is completely eliminated if they make more than $99,000. Similarly, married couples are entitled to $2,400 until their combined income reaches $150,000. From there, the payment is reduced until it phases out at $198,000. There is also a $500 rebate for each child who is 17 years old or younger.
  • How the funds are disbursed — When the IRS has a bank account on record for a direct deposit, the funds are transferred that way. Otherwise a check is sent. This could create a problem if only one partner has access to the account that was previously used for a joint filing. In situations where spouses no longer share finances due to a legal separation or in preparation for divorce, you should see that the stimulus payment is included when marital assets are divided.

An experienced divorce lawyer can advise you about the distribution of federal stimulus payments and any other assets during the course of a marriage.

Contact a skillful divorce lawyer to schedule an appointment

Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P. A. represents clients in all types of divorce proceedings. For a consultation, please call 651-760-7524 or contact the firm online.

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  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

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