If you are going through a divorce and receive a stimulus check from the federal government, make sure you know the law related to sharing it.
When a couple is getting a divorce in New Jersey, they will need to reach an agreement about how their assets are to be divided before the divorce can be finalized. If you and your spouse were near that point when your stimulus check came in the mail — part of the relief package that was signed by Congress in wake of the COVID-19 crisis — you may be wondering how the check will affect asset division in your divorce. Here is what you need to know.
How Assets are Divided in a New Jersey Divorce
Asset division in a New Jersey divorce is based on the concept of equitable, not equal, distribution. This means that the court will divide property in a way that they think is fair and just based on a number of factors; they will not just split the property and assets down the middle. Things that a court considers when making a determination about the equitable division of property include:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age of each spouse;
- How much money each spouse earns and has the capacity to earn; and
- A handful of other factors, including any factors the court deems relevant.
Note that while a court may be responsible for making a determination about a couple’s property, a couple is also encouraged to work together to reach a determination on their own, first.
How Will the Stimulus Money Affect the Divorce Settlement?
If you have a pending divorce case, the IRS likely deposited the check to the bank account that was provided in your last IRS tax return or mailed the check to the last address listed on your previous return. If this means that your spouse got the check, you should consult with your attorney about options. If your case has not been settled yet, then the money will be subject to the same rules related to equitable division as are other types of property and assets. While it may be simple to just split the money down the middle, this may not be the most equitable option, depending on your circumstances.
Note that if you were the one who received the money in the form of a joint return ($2,400), your (ex)spouse is entitled under law to half of the money, even if your divorce has been finalized. This means that you should provide them with $1,200. If you do not, you could be in violation of federal law.
Talk to a Freehold NJ Attorney for Information Specific to Your Case
It is a challenging and confusing time for our country and getting divorced only adds to the uncertainty of life. If you have questions about property division or about how a stimulus check may affect your property division amount, call our New Jersey family law attorneys at Lomurro Law directly for a consultation. We can provide guidance and representation related to property division cases, as well as a number of other family law matters.