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A Divorce Court May Exclude Recurrent Gifts from Income for Calculating Child Support where the Gifts Come from a Non-Family Member and the Party Does Not Work for the Gift

In this paternity action, mother requested child support from father four years after the 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, and credit card bills.  Mother also received monthly deposits into her personal account.  Father’s family law attorney argued that mother’s support from her friends should constitute income for purposes of calculating child support, whereas, mother’s family law attorney argued that the fact that “good Samaritans” helped mother, should not abrogate father’s obligations to their child.  The family law court found in favor of mother and father’s family law attorney filed an appeal.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the family lawcourt because there was no evidence that the gifts resulted from mother’s labor and the lack of a familial relationship between mother and friend. The Court of Appeal affirmed precedent stating recurrent gifts may be considered by the family law court as income, but it is within the family law court’s discretion. In this case, the Court of Appeal found the family law court did not abuse its discretion.

Anna M. v. Jeffrey E. (2017) 7 Cal. App. 5th 439