Is A Gift Considered To Be A Child Support Payment?

If you owe child support payments, you might wonder if you have already met your obligation by giving a gift to your child. Traditionally, a gift is not considered a type of child support payment. However, there are circumstances where it is, and you'll need to consult with a lawyer about how to go forward.

Money is Often a Child Support Payment But Not Always

One example of when a gift might be considered a child support payment is if it is money. You might give more money than the amount owed as a child support payment, and your gift might count as a payment even if it was not explicitly given as a child support payment.

Small Gifts Do Not Count

Even if you give your child a different type of gift, this will not count toward their child support payment in most states unless the gift is considered to be substantial. True gifts not in the nature of support, such as jewelry, will usually not be considered a type of child support payment. If you have jewelry and intend to use it to meet your child support obligation, it makes more sense to sell it and give the money as a payment.

However, gifts that contribute to the material support of your child might be considered an offset. This means that the value of the contribution could be deducted from the child support you owe. 

Material Support Sometimes Counts as a Payment

Your gift will also be considered a write-off if you make payments for your child's needs, such as rent or utilities. However, if you pay for a service that isn't necessary, such as piano lessons, the court might rule that they are not considered a form of material support.

Certain actions might feel like material support when they are more like gifts. For example, if you go on a vacation with your child and pay for their hotel room, this might be necessary since your child needs a place to stay, but the whole reason for needing the hotel room was that you were giving them a gift in the form of a vacation. 

Talk to a Lawyer Before Taking Legal Action

It's important to discuss this with a child support lawyer because, with an initial consultation, you will be able to determine whether it is worthwhile to pursue a modification of your child support obligation.

For more information, contact a child custody lawyer near you.