FAMILY LAW – Federal stimulus payments as marital property: Wilder v. Wilder (COA 8/28/2009)

Wilder v. Wilder
2008-CA-002289 8/28/09 2009 WL 2633701

Opinion by Judge Lambert; Judge Stumbo and Senior Judge Henry concurred.

The Court affirmed an order of the circuit court distributing marital funds from a federal stimulus payment entered more than ten days after entry of the final divorce decree. The Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting appellee relief under CR 60.02. Appellee was unable to present her claim to the funds prior to the entry of the final divorce decree because the stimulus payment had yet to be distributed by the IRS and appellant presented no evidence that the payment was foreseeable or fairly discoverable at the time the divorce decree was entered. The Court next held that the trial court did not err in finding that the stimulus payment was marital property. The funds were generated from the marital estate and were the joint property of both parties. The Court finally held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in distributing the funds equally to each party. The stimulus payment was assigned to each member of the family, not just the “income earner,” evidenced by the fact that the check was made payable to both parties and could not be cashed without both signatures.

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