Child Support: Inheritance as Income in New York
In New York a court must consider all of a parent’s resources in determining an appropriate amount of child support. So an inheritance or a gift can be counted as income or as a resource available for purposes of calculating child support. This is done more often in cases where the basic child support under the statutory formula based upon a parent's income from employment is low or not adequate to meet the needs of the child or children.
New York law allows a court to consider the entirety of a parent’s inheritance as an available resource for child support. So more than just the income from an inheritance will be considered for child support purposes. Courts will look at the assets themselves.
So placing an inheritance in non-income producing assets does not result in exclusion of those assets from consideration and determination of child support. For example, in one case the father owned a $12,000 Corvette. The Court considered this as an asset for child support purposes. In another case the father owned two vehicles and a building lot. These offered him no stream of income, but he had the ability to liquidate these assets or borrow against them. Hence, they could be counted as a resource for child support purposes.
A court can allocate a portion of a gift or an inheritance to child support and direct that such may be paid in a manner as determined by the court. A court even can direct a parent to reinvest or liquidate assets to provide for his or her children. A court also may direct that payment be made in a lump sum. A lump sum is more likely to be awarded in a situation where a parent is rapidly dissipating funds without regard to his or her child support obligation.
Unlike the statutory percentages for income, there are no clear rules on exactly how to treat an inheritance or gift. These are the type of complicated legal questions that require the advice of an experienced domestic relations attorney.