CARES Act Raises Questions For Overdue Child Support and Newly Divorced Couples

CARES actOn March 27, 2020 Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, as a measure to assist Americans in navigating through the uncertainty wrought by COVID-19. The Act provides a number of remedies from expanding unemployment assistance to addressing medical supply shortages. The provision that have garnered the most attention since its enactment is Section 6428, which provides recovery rebates for individuals.

For people receiving a stimulus check under the CARES Act, there are still questions.

One such issue is the case of a non-custodial parent who is behind in their court ordered child support. An individual who owes child support may have their rebate reduced or garnished altogether to go towards the arrearage balance. If the child support is being paid through the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (ILSDU) and monitored by administrative agencies such as the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHFS), these agencies will report outstanding balances to the Treasury Department, which will trigger the garnishment of stimulus checks so they can go toward back child support.

What is not clear, however, is what will happen in cases where the child support is paid outside of the ILSDU. These parents should plan on needing to pursue the issue of garnishing stimulus checks through the courts.

Second, recently divorced couples may find themselves concerned about how the change in filing status may impact their rebates.

Rebates – or stimulus checks – are being issued based on your most recent filing status. This means that if you filed jointly the last time you filed taxes, you should expect to receive a joint check.  These checks are advances for the 2020 tax year credits and you should consult your attorney about how to equitably divide any joint stimulus check you receive.

As the situation continues to evolve and more issues are brought to light with the passing of the CARE Act, we will continue to provide you updated information. Contact us at Sherer Law Offices at (618) 692-6656 with questions and so we can help with your specific situation.

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