With the advent of the Federal Child Support Guidelines, understanding and calculating what your child support obligation was became much more user friendly. A straight salary earner can find their income and number of children on a table and see how much they should be paying. What still remains uncertain to many people though is the form in which they can make their child support payments.
If we take the situation where there is one child, who is 16 years of age and the payor parent has an income of $60,000.00, he/she must pay child support in the amount of $519.00 per month. Let’s also say that this child just purchased their first car and the payor parent will be paying for the vehicle’s insurance at $100.00 per month. Can the payor parent deduct this car insurance payment from their child support payment? The Courts have typically said no, they cannot.
As a payor parent, it is important to understand that your obligation is to provide the recipient parent with support that will aide them financially in housing, feeding, clothing and raising the child(ren). As great as the insurance payment is from our above example, the Courts have viewed those items as gifts and not child support. Additionally, cash given directly to a child who is under the age of majority would typically be considered a gift and not count towards child support.
This means you have to carefully consider your financial situation to be sure you can first, pay your child support obligation and then as a secondary consideration, provide gifts to your child(ren).
The above discussion relates to a situation where the child is under the age of majority and living with a parent. The legal tests and obligations can change when a child is over the age of majority or not in the household. If you have any concerns or questions about your child support obligations, you can contact one of our experienced family law lawyers to receive advice on how you should proceed.