A summary of how stimulus payments are issued to divorced or unmarried parents.
the CARES Act
On March 27, 2020, the CARES Act was enacted to financially assist American families and business affected by COVID-19. The most widespread relief will come in the form of economic impact payments, and those payments are being issued immediately. With some exceptions, the payments are $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The details of the payments can be found on the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know.
Payments to divorced adults
What happens if you are divorced? Who receives the payment? What if you are divorced with children? Or unmarried with children? What then? These are all very important questions and there are some answers.
If you finalized your divorce after you filed your 2019 tax return, then you should know that the payments will be issued pursuant to that 2019 tax return, either by direct deposit or by check mailed to the address on the return. However, each adult is entitled to their own payment so if this is the case, you should reach out to your ex-spouse or seek the advice of an attorney.
Payments for children of divorced or unmarried parents
What about the $500 payments per child if you are divorced? Again, the guidelines state that these payments are issued based upon the 2019 tax return, or if not filed, the 2018 tax return. That means that whoever claimed the child in 2019 would receive the payment (or 2018 if 2019 has not been filed). Specific questions about these payments should be directed to your attorney, as this issue is more complicated and may require further legal analysis.