Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Divorced couples to decide split of US stimulus checks

On March 27 President Donald Trump signed the CARES act, a $2 trillion stimulus package to help families and their children during the pandemic.

Coronavirus: Divorced couples to decide split of US stimulus checks

The federal government’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic includes provisions to assist small businesses and stimulus checks for individuals who qualify. Most adults should expect to receive one check of $1,200 from the federal government and if they haven’t already received it the payment should arrive in the next few weeks.

While married couples will receive up to $2,400, couples with children under 17 at the end of the tax year will receive $500 for each child. If there is a couple with a pending divorce case the check will go to the bank account that was provided to the IRS in their previous return.

Even for those who have been separated for a while, there are some considerations to look at. Parents will have to consider how to divide the $500 payment for their child, and there is very little legal precedent.

Stimulus checks for divorced couples 

Divorce attorneys and financial advisers are scrambling to find a consistent and fair way to make sure everyone gets what they need out of these payments. Couples should be sure to address stimulus check money as a part of their agreement so that there is no confusion.

It is worth noting that, while they are commonly referred to as "stimulus checks," these payments are not meant to "stimulate" the economy. Rather, they are meant to relieve the burdens put on millions of Americans by unemployment during this crisis. Experts agree that parents should take whatever action is best for their children with this one-time payment. Here is a breakdown of what divorced parents may need to consider when receiving their coronavirus stimulus check.

In the case of parents who have been filing taxes separately, many take turns claiming their child as a dependent every other year. In that case, whoever claimed the child most recently will get the $500 addition to their check to care for the child. To avoid any confusion, both parents should file their 2019 taxes as soon as possible. Hopefully, co-parents with good relationships will be able to talk about how that $500 should be spent without intervention.