Donald Maescher (defendant) and Daphne Smith (plaintiff) entered into a separation agreement in 1976, ending almost 11 years of marriage. The separation agreement required Maescher to make child-support payments for each of their two children until the children turned 18 years old. The agreement also required that Maescher pay for college for each child. Maescher paid for college for the oldest child, Peter, for the first three years. However, Maescher declined to pay for Peter’s fourth year of college in advance. Maescher only agreed to pay for the fourth year’s tuition if Peter attained a B average during the year, as Peter had not been making good grades. Peter was unable to obtain financial assistance from the college, and Smith paid for the fourth year’s tuition, which was approximately $11,000. Peter provided a gift of $10,000 to Peter at the end of the year and suggested that Peter repay Smith for his tuition. Smith refused to accept the $10,000. Instead, Smith sued Maescher, alleging breach of the separation agreement. The trial court ordered Maescher to reimburse Smith for the fourth year’s tuition. Maescher appealed to the California Court of Appeal.