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Coronavirus "Stimulus Payments" (Economic Impact Payments) and Family Law Questions

Last Updated On: 9/16/2020 9:28:28 AM

This article talks about how family law cases might impact your stimulus payment.  For more general information about stimulus payments, read our article on Coronavirus "Stimulus Payments" (Economic Impact Payments)- Who Is Eligibile and How Are They Paid?

Disclaimer: Tax situations are complex and unique to each individual situation. This information is meant to provide guidance and not specific tax advice. Please consult with a tax professional if you have any additional questions. 

I am currently going through a divorce; and my ex was responsible for filing taxes; what should I do?

If you are currently going through a divorce, your taxes may be affected now that the filing deadline for 2019, which was July 15, 2020 has passed. If you have not filed, you should do so immediately! If you are entitled to a refund (meaning you owe no taxes) then there is no penalty in filing late. But to ensure you receive any and all credits you may be available for, it is important you file a tax return as soon as possible. 

You may need to change your filing status if you are concerned about your ex will withhold your stimulus check from you. This may happen if your ex controls the account that your stimulus check will be deposited in. Depending on your situation, you can file your own tax return, even if you are married, but your filing status may impact other credits (like the Earned Income Tax Credit) that you may be entitled to. It’s important to consult with a tax professional when deciding what your filing status will be.    

If you do not have a bank account, open one as soon as possible and use the new checking account when you file your tax return. If you qualify for a stimulus check, it will be direct deposited into your new account quicker than receiving a paper check. 

If you have never done your taxes yourself, there are resources that you can still utilize to help you, including free tax services. You should also consider speaking with a tax professional about your particular situation. 

What should I do if I haven’t filed taxes for 2019, and I had a child last year?

The date to file your tax return for 2019 was on July 15, 2020. If you have missed this deadline, you can still file your tax return. If you do not owe taxes and are eligible for a refund, you will not be penalized for filing late. But, even if you owe the IRS money, you should still file so that penalties and interest on your owed taxes do not continue to build up.

 If you had a child last year, then you are eligible for the $500 additional stimulus payment. The best thing to do would be to file your 2019 tax return as soon as possible so that the IRS is aware of your new child. The deadline for claiming this additional money has been extended to September 30th, 2020.  

What if my partner and I had a child last year, but then separated and are no longer together, who would get the $500 for our child?

The money will be sent to the person that claims the child as a dependent on the most recently filed tax return. If a joint return was filed, then the money will be sent to the person who provided the direct deposit information (or address) on the tax return.

What if I have guardianship over children or am a foster parent; am I still entitled to the $500?

If you have guardianship over children or are a foster parent and have claimed them on your taxes as dependents previously, you should be entitled to the additional $500 per child. If you have not already received this money from the IRS, you may need to provide your information to the IRS in order to receive this additional money. Read this article to learn more. 
This is general legal information. For guidance about your situation, talk to a lawyer.