A divorce court may decide whether to consider gifts as income for purposes of calculating child support.
In this paternity action, mother requested child support from father four years after divorce. Mother had no income, but a close friend and the child’s godfather paid mother’s monthly expenses. Mother’s friend paid her housing expenses in Beverly Hills, for a nanny, credit card bills. Mother also received money monthly deposits into her personal account. Father’s divorce lawyer argued that mother’s support from her friends should constitute income for purposes of calculating child support, whereas, mother’s divorce lawyer argued that these “good Samaritans” helped mother, which should not abrogate father’s obligations to their child. The divorce court found in favor of mother and father’s divorce lawyer filed an appeal.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the divorce court because there was no evidence that the gifts resulted from mother’s labor and the lack of familial relationship between mother and friend. The Court of Appeal affirmed precedent stating recurrent gifts may be considered by the divorce court as income, but it is within the divorce court’s discretion. In this case, the Court of Appeal found the divorce court did not abuse its discretion.
Anna M. v. Jeffrey E. (2017) 7 Cal. App. 5th 439