Why haven’t you received your stimulus check?

The federal government approved a second round of stimulus checks at the end of 2020. As of December 29, 2020, those funds have started to be disbursed by the IRS and Treasury Department. There are some circumstances, unique to people in family law situations, that may result in you not receiving your stimulus check or the stimulus funds for your children.

You filed jointly in 2019 and have since divorced or separated. If the IRS has direct deposit information available (because you provided the information to receive a refund), they will deposit your stimulus check into their bank account. For people that the IRS does not have direct deposit information, a check or debit card is being mailed. This means that if your former partner controls the bank account the IRS has on file or lives at the address from your 2019 filing, it is possible that he/she will receive your stimulus funds. If the funds are sent via joint check, your former partner will likely need you to countersign a check for the funds to be deposited; hwoever, if the funds are automatically deposited or a debit card is sent, it may be possible for your spouse to spend the funds without getting your permission. If your former partner is unwilling to provide you with your portion of the stimulus payment, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options.

The other parent claimed the child(ren) on the 2019 taxes. If your child’s other parent claimed the children on his/her 2019 taxes, the child(ren)’s stimulus funds (up to $600 per qualifying child) will be sent to the other parent. Additionally, if you filed jointly for 2019 with the other parent and he/she controls the bank account or lives at the address where a check or debit card will be sent, he/she may receive the funds by default. If you cannot reach an agreement as to how to divide the children’s portion of the stimulus check, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options.

Your former spouse made too much money. Just like the first round of stimulus checks, there are income limitations on who will receive a stimulus check. The amount of the stimulus check decreases for individuals making more than $75,000 (and couples making more than $150,000). If you did not qualify to receive a stimulus check because of your former spouse’s income (i.e., your individual income is below $75,000), you may qualify for a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 taxes. You should speak to your accountant about this when you are having your 2020 tax returns prepared.

You can check the status of your second stimulus check (called the “Economic Impact Payment” by the IRS) at this website.

*Disclaimer: we are not the IRS, the Treasury Department, or any government agency. We cannot guarantee where anyone’s funds have been deposited. This blog is just an attempt to help people identify possible reasons they may not have received their funds and suggestions about where their funds may be.

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