Fringe Benefits not considered income in Child Support

In the case of Breedlove v. Breedlove, after a jury trial (note: California does not have jury trials in family law cases), the trial court entered a final judgment and decree of divorce for the parties. The jury found that Husband’s gross monthly income was $10,833.00 and found that Wife’s gross monthly income was zero.

These findings resulted in a presumptive child support amount of $1,663 per month for the parties’ two minor children who lived with Wife. Upon calculating the presumptive amount of child support, Wife made an additional argument to the jury, requesting an upward deviation of the presumptive child support amount. The jury deliberated further and made an upward deviation of $337 such that the final child support award was $2,000 per month.

Wife moved for a new trial, contending the verdict was unsupported by the evidence because the jury failed to include income from fringe benefits Husband received from his employer in its finding of Husband’s gross monthly income. She argued the jury’s failure to include income from fringe benefits in its finding of Husband’s gross monthly income resulted in an erroneous calculation of the presumptive child support amount.

After a hearing, the trial court denied Wife’s motion for new trial and the Supreme Court granted Wife’s application for discretionary review pursuant to Rule 34 (4).

Upon careful consideration of the trial court record, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Wife’s motion for new trial.

Contact an Orange County child support lawyer for any questions you may have regarding California child support.