It is not an unknown fact that with the current status of the world during Covid-19, many people are struggling. All over the world, jobs have been lost, people are in and out of lockdowns, many having to quarantine for two weeks due to exposure. Taking time to quarantine can be a huge hit for people, not to mention those with kids, or those who are in the middle of a domestic dispute. At LaCourse Law, we have a huge heart for people in such situations and want to do our best to help those in need.
One of the most prominent questions we are asked during this time by parties in the middle of a domestic dispute is: which parent should receive the children's stimulus check issued by the government? Unfortunately, none of the laws issued by Congress specifically identify which parent should receive and deposit the child's stimulus amounts. The only criteria congress gave is that a parent who can legally claim the child as an exemption on their tax return would be eligible to receive that. The difficulty is that usually both parents have the right to claim a dependent during a domestic dispute. So how do we handle this when BOTH have the right to receive this?
To answer such a question is a tricky one. Oklahoma family courts are called courts of equity. In other words, courts that do what is supposed to be fair. Fairness is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, it would be the judge. At LaCourse Law, it has been our experience that many courts have allowed BOTH parents to divide these proceeds for the minor children so long as they both have been participating in custody and visitation rights. In the case where only one parent has had custody and visitation then the stimulus check, as a matter of equity, would usually be awarded to that primary custodial parent.
Due to Covid-19, the courts here in Oklahoma are very backlogged. It may be hard to get into court in a timely manner, especially concerning Covid surrounding items, such as stimulus checks. If you are trying to co-parent, and don't want to go to court, our advice would be to communicate with one another and equally divide the proceeds if you are sharing custody and visitation. If one parent is the primary custodial parent, then it would be fair for that parent to receive the refund. Talking about it is always best. If you are represented by council, have a discussion with your attorney and get their advice on how to fairly divide the check.
Should you have any questions or want to further discuss what rights you have as a parent please feel free to contact the attorneys and staff at LaCourse Law for a free consultation. Call us at 918-744-7100, or fill out the form on our website.