If you recently received a stimulus check in the mail and are getting a divorce, talk to your attorney about how your check may affect your property division settlement.
During the coronavirus pandemic, businesses shuttered and many people lost their jobs or were forced to work in a reduced capacity, leading to loss of income. In order to stimulate the economy and provide citizens with a small amount of financial support, the government issued stimulus checks to the populace. For couples who are divorcing, the stimulus money is considered an asset and will need to be split up in the property division settlement. Here is what you should know:
How Much Was the Stimulus Check for?
While the stimulus check must be considered when dividing assets, the stimulus check will likely add relatively little value to an estate, and therefore should not complicate the property division process too much. The check amount sent out by the federal government was $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples who filed taxes jointly in 2019, and an additional $500 for each minor child residing in the household.
Dividing the Stimulus Check
Because the state of Texas is a community property state, any property acquired during the course of the marriage by way other than gift or inheritance is considered community property and is therefore subject to equitable division. In dividing the stimulus check amount equitably, couples may choose to:
- Each take their own $1,200;
- Divide the $2,400 (if the couple filed jointly for the previous tax year) evenly between them;
- Split the amount received for a child equally; or
- Work out another arrangement that is equitable.
In regards to the latter--working out another arrangement that is equitable--a divorcing pair may choose to allow the parent who will be the primary custodial parent to keep the $500 offered for children; or, a couple may decide that one party should keep the $2,400 in exchange for that same party making the final mortgage payment on the home, etc.
What You Must Do
If you were the recipient of your (ex-) spouse’s stimulus check, you have a duty to make sure that they receive their portion of the check regardless of whether or not your divorce is finalized. For example, if you receive a check for $2,400, or if you receive your ex’s check for $1,200 in the mail, you cannot keep it as yours.
Call an Experienced Texas Property Division Lawyer for Help
To learn more about property division laws in Texas and what to do about dividing a stimulus check in a divorce, reach out to our Texas divorce lawyers at the office of Musemeche Law, P.C. Even if you have a straightforward divorce case, working with an attorney who can, at the very least, review your settlement is always wise. To learn more about our services and how we can help, please reach out to us by phone or online at your convenience.