Tag: Divorce & Lottery winnings

Divorce Stimulus Checks and More Good Coronavirus News

If you have not already received it (and spent it shopping), your Economic Impact Payment may be on its way. But if you’re separated or going through a divorce, your economic stimulus check may not be as stimulating as you had hoped. As always, there’s also some good coronavirus news.

Divorce Stimulus Checks

A Stimulating Divorce Issue

Since the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), the $2 trillion stimulus package to spur the economic recovery, millions of Americans have already received their Economic Impact Payments and are busy shopping.

You may be eligible to receive a payment if you are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or qualifying resident alien, cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, have a Social Security number and an adjusted gross income below a certain amount.

Qualifying single adults who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will receive $1,200. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total payment of $2,400. Taxpayers filing as head of household will receive full payment if they earned $112,500 or less.

But will the stimulus funds be impacted because you are in a divorce or family law case?

Florida Divorce and Tax

I’ve written about divorce and taxes before. For example, after the new tax code changes became law, it eliminated the alimony deduction. Many people criticized the tax law change in general. For example, the decision to end the alimony deduction received a lot of criticism. Many argued it made divorce worse.

Since the change, we’ve seen that some people are not willing to pay as much in alimony. This reduction in alimony amounts being paid has disproportionately hurt women, who have tended to earn less, and are more likely to be on the receiving end of alimony payments.


For everyone who has not received it, the stimulus payment checks are something being counted on every day. Fortunately, most people should expect to receive their one-time, $1,200 stimulus payment from the IRS in the next few weeks. However, some people may receive less than they expected.

For example, if you have not filed your 2019 tax return, the IRS will calculate your payment based on the adjusted gross income listed on your 2018 tax return.

Also, if you have a pending divorce case, the payment will be deposited into the bank account that was provided to the IRS on your previous tax return. So, if your last tax return was a joint return prepared with your spouse, you may have to consult an attorney to discuss your options for recovering your payment.

Don’t forget you may also receive an additional $500 stimulus payment for each qualifying child. For anyone who filed jointly with their spouse, and whose custody arrangement has changed since they last filed a tax return, the portion of the check allocated for qualified children may be impacted.

Finally, the rules for child support enforcement are still in effect. Federal law requires child support agencies to collect past due child support from federal tax refunds.

In passing the federal CARES Act, Congress did not exempt the stimulus payment checks from federal offsets for unpaid child support arrears. All or a partial amount of your stimulus check may be intercepted and used to pay unpaid child support.

Good Coronavirus News

As we enter summer, there is good coronavirus news. More and more cities have decided on timetables for reopening certain parks and recreational facilities as part of a phase of returning to normal during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • In Miami, parks, boat ramps, golf courses and other facilities will open with certain restrictions.
  • Face coverings must always be worn unless otherwise noted.
  • Social distancing must be observed, and there can’t be gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • Sadly, swimming pools are not being opened for adult lap swimming. This critical policy misstep – to open swimming pools to adult lap swimming – is a major oversight mayors around the state seem to be making, and will need to be corrected in the future.

The IRS economic impact payments information page is here.


Divorce & Lottery Winnings: How to Keep Most of It

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Equitable Distribution on Thursday, May 1, 2014.

Jose is one lucky guy. He won $2 million in an Indiana scratch off lottery game. Equitable distribution requires he split half the winnings with his wife in a divorce. Last week a judge ordered him to give her less than 3%. Why?

Jose and his wife Maria were married for about 4 years – they married in 2002 and separated in 2006. They never divorced, and over the next six years he moved out, they barely spoke, had separate bank accounts, and lived as single people.

Five years later, in 2011, Jose won $2 million in a scratch-off game. He quickly filed for divorce. In the divorce proceedings, Maria asked the court to give her 70% of Jose’s winnings, about $1.4 million.

Maria thought she was entitled to a 70/30 split because Jose admitted that giving her 70% of the cash was a “fair and equitable distribution.” She argued that this admission conclusively establishes how the court should divide the money. The judge said no.

Because Jose and Maria were legally married at the time, courts presume a 50-50 split. But the Indiana court ruled Maria shouldn’t even get her half. Why? Because of the extended separation, the lack of comingling, and each person living as individuals.

I’ve written before about the risks of long separations:

* You have less control of assets,

* Spouses have an opportunity to hide assets,

* Circumstances change, jobs are lost, and people get ill or retire,

* Relocation with children may become harder over time, and

* Alimony reform is changing laws all over the country.

Jose’s case is one in which a long separation was actually very helpful, but that’s not always true. Jose just got really lucky . . . twice!

You’re not Jose. Don’t base your divorce planning on dumb luck.