Everyone has seen the over-the-top gift mountains on TV shows and in movies. Loading the kids up with gifts at Christmas, their birthday or other holidays is one of the textbook ways that divorced parents try to make sure that the holidays still have some magic even if previous family traditions no longer happen post-divorce.

If your ex goes overboard with gifts, you may have some questions about what that means for your custody situation and how to handle these presents with your child.

Can extravagant gifts affect our custody or child support arrangement?

In all but the most extreme situations, no gift your ex could possibly give your children would change the custody or child support calculation. Family courts in Ohio base the child support calculation on both parents’ income situations, child support expenses and parenting time. One of those items needs to change for child support to change.

Additionally, gifts do not typically come into play when a judge considers custody arrangements. While the ability to provide for your child’s needs is an important factor, courts do not usually consider gifts when determining what placement is in the best interest of the child.

However, if your ex is giving gifts instead of paying court-ordered child support, that is a matter that the courts can enforce. Gifts cannot replace child support payments, no matter the monetary value.

How should I handle expensive gifts?

No matter how frustrated you are, do not speak badly about your ex or the presents.

While gifts may excite your kids at first, time and attention are far more important in the long run. Do not get stuck in a competition with your ex to see who can spend the most on a present. Instead, plan a special activity or event with your child over the holidays like baking a cake from your grandmother’s recipe or going to see the holiday lights in your neighborhood. Memories like that will stick with your child far longer without hurting your wallet.