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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

Shufflebarger Law Office, P.C. represents clients in all types of divorce proceedings. For a consultation, please call 970-232-9732 or contact the firm online.

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Jeremy Shufflebarger
Attorney

About Attorney Jeremy Shufflebarger comes from a vast family of Colorado natives. After moving around the United States, he settled in Fort Collins, Colorado. Jeremy is a former judicial clerk for the Larimer County District Court in Colorado and the Laramie County District Court in Wyoming. He is well versed in a wide range of…

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  • "Jeremy Shufflebarger and his staff were FABULOUS! Divorce is in most cases heart-breaking, and from my first visit in his office to my last he handled my case with respect and care, mentoring me each step of the way. Jeremy will take the time to walk you through the process, and lay out what the pros and cons may be so you can make good decisions along the way. There are so many wonderful things I can say about Jeremy, but words cannot express the gratitude I have for him and his staff throughout my divorce process." - Mari Jo Mentzer

  • "Jeremy Shufflebarger and his law firm provided unbundled legal services for my divorce in 2016 and essentially acted as a consulting attorney for my case. Jeremy was an excellent listener and provided sound and professional advice. He was very familiar with the family court, the divorce process, and mediation and was able to help me navigate a difficult time. Despite a busy schedule his assistant Andrea always made it possible to set up a call with him and get my concerns addressed in a timely manner. Having Jeremy and his team in my corner made a difficult situation a little less stressful. Thanks for everything." - Ryan Hogan

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