Frequently Asked Questions During the Coronavirus: Timesharing & Stimulus Checks
There is no question that the coronavirus has brought on a number of family law-related challenges for couples of all varieties, whether they be married couples who are now forced to spend more and more time together, which may be placing a strain on the relationship and causing them to consider divorce, or divorced parents who are now trying to navigate how to deal with new time sharing challenges that have come up with respect to their children and the other parent, or those who recently divorced or who are planning on getting divorced, who now have questions about the stimulus package one-time checks that Americans are supposed to receive to help them get through the challenges brought on by the virus.
Timesharing & Handing Over the Kids When You Have Virus Concerns
While parents should follow established parenting plans and custody agreements to the extent that they can, it is also important to note that there are also federal government guidelines in place which dictate that if anyone develops symptoms, they should self-quarantine for 14 days, indicating that any credible, justified challenges to deviations from time sharing agreements and parenting plans may very well be based on what is in the best interest of the child and keeping them healthy, and part of a case that must eventually be made in court. Still, be very careful in refusing to comply with a court order, as you can be held in contempt of court. If you have concerns about the other parent potentially endangering your child due to exposure to COVID-19, consult a family law attorney right away to find out what your best course of action might be before taking any extreme measures in order to ensure that your rights are protected in the long run.
The Coronavirus Stimulus Checks
The checks that are being processed as part of the recent coronavirus stimulus package are essentially being treated like tax refunds, which, in terms of divorce law, are subject to equitable distribution. Most divorcing couples file joint tax returns and share a refund or split any taxes owed. As a result, it would be fair to anticipate that the courts would find that each party would be entitled to receive 50 percent of any stimulus check.
However, if you have not yet finalized your divorce, it would be worthwhile to ensure that the stimulus payment is addressed in your divorce agreement so that you do not have to deal with potentially getting reimbursed by your ex later on if they happen to be the one to receive the full amount (given that the checks will be distributed based on recent tax returns and you may have recently closed a joint account). Also note that the stimulus package includes a credit of $500 for each child under the age of 17, which will likely correlate with whichever parent claimed the child on their tax returns. In addition, if one parent owes child support, it is entirely possible that the IRS can withhold the check for the parent in coordination with the Florida Department of Revenue in order to pay for any child support in arrears.
We Are Here for You
Our family law attorneys are still working around the clock in order to ensure that your questions are answered and needs are met when it comes to any divorce or family law issue. While we always offer free 15-minute phone consultations, we know that these issues are sensitive and confidential, and many people do not have the opportunity to engage in a confidential telephone conversation right now, in which case we can schedule safe in-person consultations as well.
In addition, although a number of Florida family courts are closed, know that there are still some services available and a certain amount of family law work also occurs outside of the courts anyway, for example, discussions, meetings, drafting documents, negotiations, and agreements. Contact our Orlando family attorneys at Arwani Law Firm, PLLC today to find out more.