Do Monetary Gifts Affect Child Support and Maintenance?

While it is left to the court’s discretion to determine whether monetary gifts should be entered as monthly income, there must be regularity in the receipt of said gifts.

There are many factors a court considers when setting child support and maintenance (commonly referred to as alimony). Both parents’ income, childcare expenses, home expenses, and utilities all can go into this equation. However, what about monetary gifts? The long and short answer, as it often tends to be, is maybe.

Court Case Example

In Selleck v. Selleck, 528 S.W.3d 471 (Mo. App. E.D. 2017), the parent paying support sought to appeal an increase to his monthly child support. He argued his support should not have been increased because the mother of his child received substantial gifts of money from her parents. The appellate court found in favor of the mother, because these gifts were not regularly made, that the mother did not have absolute control over the money, nor was she legally entitled to these gifts. As a result, the court found it improper to include said gifts into her monthly income.

While it is left to the court’s discretion to determine whether monetary gifts should be entered as monthly income, there must be regularity in the receipt of said gifts. There must be a continual entitlement, and there needs to be complete control over the funds. Without providing evidence of the aforementioned conditions, a court is much less likely to decide to include gifts as part of a parent’s income.

Contact Your Family Law Attorney

If you believe monetary gifts should, or should not, be included in a party’s monthly income, be sure to ask your St. Louis family law attorney. You can determine if the ordered child support and maintenance are set to a proper level with your child support lawyer.

Speak With an Experienced Attorney

Our firm uses experience, good communication, and availability to help families navigate life-changing events.