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Holiday gifts and child support: What you need to know

| Sep 22, 2021 | Child Support |

Holiday lay-aways have already started, and smart parents are already putting a few dollars aside for their kids’ gifts.

This year, your child has already started dropping hints about something big they really want. You think you might be able to swing the price, but only if you can count the gift as part of your child support.

You don’t have the option of swapping gifts for support

Monetary child support is designed to provide for your child’s basic needs for food, shelter and clothing. You may also be able to use it to cover health insurance, medical co-pays, childcare costs, travel for visitation, field trips, sports fees and other extracurriculars.

Child support wasn’t designed to cover gifts or luxury items. This holds true even if you feel like the gift is necessary (like a new laptop that’s easier for your child to use for schoolwork). 

You can work out a plan with your co-parent

Your co-parent can’t relieve you of your child support obligation, but no rule says they can’t work with you where gifts are concerned. 

If your child wants a big-ticket item that you can’t afford alone, see if your co-parent is willing to chip in for half the cost. Just make sure that you work out issues like

  • When and where the presentation of the gift will occur
  • Whether it will come from both of you or “Santa”
  • Any rules about taking the gift from one parent’s house to the other’s

Issues involving child custody and support can get very heated during the holiday season. It pays to think ahead and address any issues you may have as early as possible.