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In re Marriage of Daugherty

California Court of Appeals, First District, Fourth Division

December 15, 2014

In re the Marriage of MELINDA and DAVID DAUGHERTY. MELINDA DAUGHERTY, Appellant,
v.
DAVID DAUGHERTY, Respondent NAPA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES, Respondent.

[As modified Dec. 18, 2014.]

Napa County Super. Ct. No. 26-28036 Hon. Philip A. Champlin, Trial judge.

Page 464

COUNSEL

Melinda Daugherty, in pro. per., for Appellant.

David Daugherty, in pro. per., for Respondent.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of California, Julie Weng-Gutierrez, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Linda M. Gonzalez, Catherine Ongiri, and Sharon Quinn, Deputy Attorney General, for Respondent.

Page 465

OPINION

Rivera, J.

Melinda Daugherty appeals an order of the trial court modifying the child support paid by David Daugherty.[1] She contends the court miscalculated David’s support obligation by failing to include in his income derivative Social Security disability benefits Melinda receives on behalf of their children—benefits they are entitled to because of David’s disability. We shall affirm the order.

I. BACKGROUND

David and Melinda’s two children lived with Melinda, and David paid child support. The Napa County Department of Child Support Services filed a motion to modify David’s child support obligation. (Fam. Code, [2] § 17400 et seq.)

After a hearing, the court found that David’s income, for purposes of calculating child support, was the monthly Social Security disability payment he received. The court then ordered him to pay a portion of that to Melinda as child support. The court also found Melinda received $796 per month in derivative Social Security disability benefits as the representative payee of the children based on David’s disability. (42 U.S.C. § 402(d).) Melinda argued these benefits should be treated as part of David’s income when calculating his monthly income for purposes of his support obligation. The court disagreed with Melinda’s position and concluded the derivative benefits were the income of the children, not of David. Under the court’s order, the $796 in derivative ...


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