Since April 2020, many Americans have received as many as three stimulus payments to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re going through a divorce, the stimulus checks may have been mailed to your ex (or direct deposited in their account). When a divorce is less than amicable—or one party feels particularly entitled to the money—you could have trouble getting your share of the stimulus funds from them. If you suspect your ex is hanging on to money that’s rightfully yours, the smartest thing to do is call a divorce lawyer in Miami, FL.
Here’s how stimulus checks work when it comes to divorce.
Who gets the check?
Your stimulus check should have been mailed or direct deposited to the person whose address was on your 2018, 2019 or 2020 filings (depending on which one is missing). If you filed separately even before you started divorce proceedings, the checks should be going to each address or bank account.
What about the child stimulus payment?
Qualifying parents with dependent children under age 17 were also eligible for a stimulus payment of $500 per child. That money should go to the parent who claimed the child as a dependent on their recent tax returns.
What happens if someone owes back child support?
If you or your ex owe back child support, your stimulus payment may have been withheld in whole or in part. Unlike other debts, child support debt is not suspended during the pandemic. When you’re behind on child support, it will be reported to your state government. They will then withhold your stimulus and provide it to the other parent.
My ex refuses to give me my portion of the stimulus. What can I do?
The most important thing to do—whether you’re fully divorced or still in the process—is talk to your attorney. You should be entitled to your portion of a stimulus check, even if the divorce is not yet final. However, the methods by which your attorney will go about securing those funds may be different, depending on your circumstances.
If you’re technically married when the stimulus checks come in, the court will likely find that it’s part of the marital income, and divide it appropriately. If your divorce is final but your ex is hanging on to your funds, let your attorney decide how to handle the situation.
If you have received your ex’s stimulus check, it’s in your best interest to forward the check or transfer the funds to them. You could face serious state and/or federal penalties for withholding their money from them.
Ideally, you’ll find an amicable way to handle the situation—but to be safe, it’s always best to consult a divorce lawyer in Miami, FL. The Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler are happy to help you sort out these confusing issues. Call us today for a consultation—we look forward to discussing the specifics of your case and working with you to secure the funds you’re owed.