Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals with gross income up to $75,000 or $2,400 for married couples with gross income up to $150,000 and for filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. An important note, some taxpayers who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment (i.e. low-income parents who did not file a return or those receiving social security or disability).

Nobody could have anticipated a worldwide pandemic. In my thirty years of practice, I have never seen such a widespread health and economic crisis. As the world continues to deal with this pandemic, and while parents and lawyers navigate these times, many issues will arise. An important issue that will have an immediate impact, what will happen to my stimulus check?

The first issue involves parents who are divorced or are in the process of getting divorced. As to parents who are getting divorced and filed a joint return for 2018 (if you did not file your 2019 return yet) or 2019 and filed a joint return, the check will likely be deposited into the bank account used on the return or where a check was mailed to the primary taxpayer. This raises issues if you have not filed a 2019 return as to whether should I file a separate return? You should immediately contact your tax professional to weigh your options whether it is in your best interest to file a separate return and if it is determined you should file married but separate, you would need to file immediately since the IRS will look at the most recent return to determine eligibility.

If the primary tax account or household is not your household, but you have the child(ren) most of the time and are not going to receive the stimulus check what should you do? Talk to the other spouse/parent and try to negotiate an amicable resolution. It would be expensive to litigate this issue over the amount of the stimulus check.

What happens if I have a child support and custody arrangement and I am currently in arrears because of being laid off or I am just in arrears? First, if you are getting unemployment, let them know about your support obligation so you are at least paying something towards your support obligation. Second, see if you can contact the other parent and arrange something. Third, more likely than not the check will be intercepted and applied towards your arrears.

Clearly in these unprecedented times adversity can become an opportunity for parents to come together and focus on what is best for the child and work to help each other. Take this time to try to mend issues and build bridges to be able work towards a better future.

If you have concerns regarding parenting or custody issues and need to meet with the legal team at Burnham Douglass amid the Corona-virus outbreak, please call us or contact us online. We will address any questions you may have. We are working by video conference, telephone and email to answer questions.

Our offices are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, and Atlantic County.