Living rent-free didn’t increase child support payments

Even though a woman was living with her mother and got free room and board, the value of what she received wasn’t “income” in deciding how much child support she had to pay, the Virginia Court of Appeals recently decided.

The husband had primary custody of the couple’s children, while the wife paid support. The husband argued that the wife was effectively saving $1,200 a month by living with her mother, based on what she was paying in living expenses before she moved in with her. He argued that this $1,200 should be added to her “income” in calculating her child support bill.

But the court said that the wife’s rent-free living arrangement wasn’t “income” unless she was receiving it in exchange for providing services to the mother, which apparently wasn’t the case.

The court also said that room and board didn’t qualify as a “gift,” because a gift is physical property transferred from one person to another.