Over the next six months, the IRS will be sending billions of dollars to families with children ages 17 and younger. But the distribution is already causing anxiety.

The IRS and Treasury said the tax service deposited roughly $15 billion in bank accounts this week for the nearly 60 million children eligible for the monthly expanded child tax credit. Eligible families receive an advance payment of up to $300 per month for each child age 5 and under and up to $250 for each child ages 6 through 17.

But many families are unsure whether their child qualifies for the credit, particularly those with newborns or custody issues, judging from questions posed during an online discussion ahead of the first distribution on July 15.

Ken Corbin, the IRS’s wage and investment commissioner and its chief taxpayer experience officer, joined me on the chat to take reader questions. And there were hundreds of people seeking clarification of eligibility.

Here’s a recap of the most frequently asked questions and responses to queries we weren’t able to get to during the discussion, edited for length and clarity. A few questions were also answered by IRS spokesman Eric Smith.

What to know

  • I have a child born in June, does she qualify to receive the advance child tax credit?
  • If the parents of minor children are separated, but not divorced, and filed joint returns in 2019 and 2020, do they equally divide the child tax credit?
  • If my wife is due in August, will we still qualify for the program?
  • What if I claimed my child for 2020 because she was living with me but went to live with my ex this year?
  • My son turns 18 in December. Will I get child credit for the months he is 17?
  • One of the conditions of the credit is that the child must live with the taxpayer for half of the tax year. What about a child born late in the year? Does he qualify?