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What Should I Do With My Child’s Stimulus Check if I Am Divorced Or Separated?

What Should I Do With My Child’s Stimulus Check if I Am Divorced Or Separated?

Nationwide, qualifying Americans are receiving their stimulus checks from the CARES Act each day. Subject to certain income phase-outs, each American will receive $1,200 plus $500 for each child. So, what should divorced parents do if they receive the stimulus check for their child or children? Well, it depends.

To be clear, there is no explicit guidance on what Nevada parents should do with stimulus checks they receive for their children if they are divorced or separated from the other parent. Ultimately, if parents do not share your child’s stimulus money with the other parent, they should be prepared to explain why to a judge.

Stimulus Check Issues Related to Custody

If you share joint physical custody with your child’s other parent, you should split the stimulus check with the other parent. Reason being, you and the other parent both spend substantial time with the child and therefore have a need to use some of the money from the stimulus check to meet expenses, especially if you are furloughed or laid off.

Similarly, if you and the other parent alternate receiving the child tax credit each year, you should split the money with the other parent. The idea behind this is that you two already agreed to alternate claiming your child on your taxes every other year. A judge may question why your child's stimulus check should be treated any different.

However, each parent’s situation is unique. For example, if you share joint physical custody with the other parent, but you are unemployed and the other parent is still working, you may have a basis to keep the entire check based upon your unemployment. However, if you keep the entire check for your child, you should be prepared to explain this to a judge.

Generally, if you are the primary physical custodian of your child, you may have a basis to keep the entire stimulus. If you are the parent primarily caring for your child during this “Stay Home for Nevada” mandate, then you may have a basis to keep the entire check to meet your child’s needs. Naturally, a judge may ask the other parent why they feel entitled to any of your child’s stimulus check if you are the parent who primarily pays your child’s expenses and primarily cares for them.

Stimulus Checks & Child Support Issues

If one parent is behind on child support, then the other parent may have a justifiable reason to keep their child's entire stimulus check for themselves.

If your child’s other parent received the stimulus check for your child and refuses to share it with you, you should speak to an attorney about your options. While it may not make sense to retain an attorney to fight over this sum, you do have other more cost-effective legal options.

Consult Leavitt Law Firm for Up-to-Date Legal Information

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted virtually all aspects of normal life. This impact may be particularly significant for divorced parents when it comes to matters such as child custody and child support. To get a comprehensive idea of you and your family’s legal rights, you should consult an experienced attorney from Leavitt Law Firm. Our firm remains open during this crisis to help preserve the legal interests of families in Nevada.

Contact Leavitt Law Firm online or by phone at (702) 996-6052 to schedule a case evaluation today.

This post is intended to convey general information only and not to provide specific legal advice or to form an attorney-client relationship. Leavitt Law Firm does not assume responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any of the information contained in this blog post. The information may not apply to your unique situation and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: Any tax advice contained in these blog posts is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or by any other applicable tax authority or to promote, market or recommend to another any tax-related matter addressed herein.


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