25 Aug We’re getting divorced. Can I keep my husband’s stimulus check?
Q. My husband and I recently separated and we haven’t filed for divorce yet. Our stimulus check is deposited into my account at the credit union. Can he stop it somehow?
— Splitting up
A. Your question seems to ask can he stop a payment that has already been made.
But it seems your real question or concern is whether he is entitled to any of the stimulus payment given that you’re separated but not yet divorced.
The answer is yes, said Amber Leach, a certified divorce financial analyst with AXA Advisors/R.I.C.H. Planning Group in Morristown.
The IRS.gov says who should get the stimulus checks and you and your spouse fall into that category.
It says: U.S. citizens and U.S. resident aliens will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 or $2,400 if they filed married filing jointly and if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:
· $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns
· $112,500 for head of household filers and
· $75,000 for all other eligible individuals
The IRS sent the payment to the credit union account, which was what you listed on your last tax return.
Leach said that even though you are separated, in the eyes of the law, you are still married.
“The fact that the account at the credit union is titled in your name is irrelevant,” she said. “All assets — with some exceptions such as gifts and inheritances — could be viewed as marital funds and subject to equitable distribution.”
Stimulus payments received that are based on your most recent joint tax return are included in this, she said.
Misappropriating or not disclosing receipt of federal funds that are perhaps due to your spouse is not advisable and could leave you subject to future consequences, Leach said.
She said you should disclose the receipt of funds and contact a divorce lawyer for help in the distribution of funds.
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This story was originally published on Aug. 25, 2020.
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