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Court rules regular gifts are income for child support purposes

In most all divorces in Ontario one of the matters that will need to be sorted throughout is whether a spouse will have to pay spousal or child support and, if so, how much. Before that can happen, a determination needs to be made regarding the spouse’s income. Recently a decision released by the Ontario Court of Appeal provides information regarding what may be considered income for the purpose of making these determinations. 

In this specific case, financial gifts from the husband’s mother were deemed to be income. The husband alleged that this course of action was effectively placing the support obligation on his mother. This argument was not successful however and in reaching its conclusion the court relied upon the fact that these gifts had been made throughout the relationship and there was nothing to indicate that following the divorce, they would stop.

It is important to note that any decision regarding child support that is reached in which the gifts from the man’s parents are considered, is not set in stone. As is the case any other time there is a change in the amount of someone’s income, it is possible that a variation order could be sought. To be successful he would need to prove that there has been a material change in circumstance.

While this decision is important because considers income to be more than just what is recorded on an income tax return, how it will will impact others in establishing child support remains to be seen.

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