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Be Careful: Gifts = “Income!”

By David L. Duff of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in Family Law on Tuesday, November 10, 2015.

In the initial determination of child support, or in a later modification of a child support obligation, the single most significant issue to be divided by the presiding judge will be: What is the gross monthly income of each parent? Once the parents’ respective incomes have been established, it is often an easy process to calculate the proper amount of child support through use of the Virginia Child Support Guidelines.

It is hugely important that anyone who is receiving child support for his or her children be aware of the fact that “income” can mean more than merely the wages earned through employment. Virginia’s child support statute (Code § 20-108.2), defines what is meant by the term “income” and expressly includes “gifts” received by that parent as constituting additional income for the purpose of calculating child support.

One must recognize that “gifts” are not limited to those checks that are periodically sent by your parents, or grandparents, to help you pay your bills. This category of income also includes any of your personal expenses, or usual living expenses, or, indeed, any obligation owed to someone else, that are paid on your behalf.

Thus, what is intended to be an act of generosity born out of love, can have the unintended result of lowering the amount of child support that you receive, by increasing your “income.”

If you find yourself in this sort of predicament, contact one of the attorneys at The Duff Law Firm for a complimentary, 30-minute consultation.

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