Ask Cari: If a Parent Receives Money as a “Gift”, Does it Count as Income for Child Support Purposes?

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Dear Cari, 

My parents give me money each month as I’m still a college student.  Will this count as my “income” for child support purposes?  I live in Urbana, Illinois. 

Thanks, 

Todd 

Dear Todd,

Yes, the courts have the ability to consider that income. Consider these cases:

  • In Re Marriage of Rogers, 213 Ill 2nd 129 (2004), which set forth that gifts made to the payor, were to be considered as income, for purposes of child support. In that case the noncustodial father was receiving yearly gifts and loans that he never had to pay back from his parents.  Since these gifts represented a value to the father and enhanced his wealth and his ability to support his son, they were treated as income for child support purposes.
  • In re Marriage of Moorthy and Arjuna, 2015 IL App (1st) 132077, 2015 (where the court rules that “[f]or child support purposes, “income” includes gains and benefits that enhance a noncustodial parent’s wealth and facilitate that parent’s ability to support a child or children, which are normally linked to employment or self-employment, investments, royalties, and gifts.”)
  • In Re Marriage of Anderson and Murphy, 405 Ill. App.3d 1129 (3rd dist. 2010) where the trial court abused its discretion when it should have included gifts that the father received from his family as income.  The court stated that “[i]f a parent receives payments that would qualify as income for purposes of child support under the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, those payments may not be excluded on the basis that they might not be received in the future.”  Furthermore, the court stated that Generally, the trial court’s net income determination and child support award lie within its discretion.

Cari

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