Client Alert: The CARES Act - How it Relates to Families

By Michael Coscia, Samuel Ferrara and RoseAnn Branda

We at Abrams Fensterman, LLP hope you and your families are staying safe during these difficult times.

Over the past several days we have received numerous calls regarding the Federal Governments Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or “CARES Act” and how it applies to general family considerations. One of the main features of the CARES Act is a Stimulus Package in which a one-time payment of up to $1,200 will be paid to all Americans who qualify. In an attempt to keep all of our client’s current as to your respective rights the following is a brief summary of the Stimulus Package and how it may impact you and your family:

1. In order to qualify for the one-time payment an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a Social Security Number;
  • Have filed taxes for the years 2018 or 2019;
  • Earned less than $99,000 for single filers, $136,500 for heads of household, or $198,000 for married filers according to the most recent tax return filed;
  • Are not claimed by someone else as a dependent.

2. The maximum payment is $1,200 for single filers with an Adjusted Gross Income (“AGI”) below $75,000 or single parents (heads of household) with an AGI below $112,500. Married couples who file jointly and have an AGI below $150,000 will get a total of $2,400. Payments will begin to phase out at a rate of $5 for each $100 over the AGI threshold before ceasing at an AGI of $99,000 for single filers, $136,500 for heads of household, and $198,000 for married filers;

3. Payments are made directly to the account listed on the 2018- or 2019-Income Tax Return;

4. In addition to the payments to each parent, there's also an additional $500 allotted to parents who have an AGI within the phaseout range for each child younger than 17 years of age. The cutoff date for determining a child’s age is December 31, 2019;

5. For people who share custody, the parent who gets to claim the children for 2019 will be the parent who receives the $500 payment for those children under age 17. If you are entitled to claim the children as dependents for 2019 and have not filed yet, you must do so immediately to ensure that you will receive the payment for the Children. If you do not file for 2019, the 2018 Income Tax will be used, and payments will be made to the person and account who claimed the children for 2018;

6. Although not specifically stated, it appears that the Federal Government will be issuing checks to people in the following order of priority:

  • Those who have filed their 2019 returns first;
  • If no 2019 filed, then they will then issue checks for 2018 returns;

7. If you don't file taxes but do get Social Security payments, the government will use that information for your payment, and it will be paid to you in the same manner you receive your Social Security Payment;

We know that everyone’s particular facts and circumstances are different and thus might require additional questions or information to the foregoing.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any other family law/ matrimonial related issue, please contact:

Michael A. Coscia, Esq. at

Samuel J. Ferrara, Esq. at

RoseAnn C. Branda, Esq. at