Close the pay gap? Reform child support? Get dads involved? 50/50 custody, no child support

We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Here's more on how we make money.
The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

In my work writing about women, money and family in the United States, there are two prevailing issues:

  • Dads who do not live with their kids are barely involved. (Just 22% of dads who live apart from their children see them more than once weekly, per Pew.)
  • That pay gap will. not. Close.
  • Child support is unfair and needs to be reformed.

Here’s the answer:

Start all custody negotiations at a default 50/50 equally shared parenting time and custody, with no child support or alimony.

Why is child support so unfair to fathers?

While the world is changing for the better in many ways, the majority of child support payors are men. Here are all the reasons this is unfair to dads:

  • Child support is built on the presumption that one parent (mothers) care for the children while another (father) pays for them. This shoehorns men and women into sexist roles, with men forced to be the breadwinner.
  • Often, whether by law or practice, child support is tied to the amount of time a man is allowed to spend with their children — heightening an already adversarial family court system, and making men pay to see their children.
  • Child support calculations rarely factor in a man’s ability to afford payments, and in states where failure to pay leads to jail time, forces poor men trapped in a cycle of imprisonment, unemployment, and more imprisonment. Meanwhile, no money is paid in child support, and fatherlessness is perpetuated, as outlined in this New York Times article:

Though the threat of jail is considered an effective incentive for people who are able but unwilling to pay, many critics assert that punitive policies are trapping poor men in a cycle of debt, unemployment and imprisonment.

The problem begins with child support orders that, at the outset, can exceed parents’ ability to pay. When parents fall short, the authorities escalate collection efforts, withholding up to 65% of a paycheck, seizing bank deposits and tax refunds, suspending driver’s licenses and professional licenses, and then imposing jail time.

“Parents who are truly destitute go to jail over and over again for child support debt simply because they’re poor,” said Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer with the Southern Center for Human Rights, which filed a class-action lawsuit in Georgia on behalf of parents incarcerated without legal representation for failure to pay. “We see many cases in which the person is released, they’re given three months to pay a large amount of money, and then if they can’t do that they’re tossed right back in the county jail.”

Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat. — The New York Times

While many assume child support mandatory in divorce — it does not have to be. If you settle out of court through a low-cost online divorce service, you can negotiate joint, 50/50 custody, equal parenting time, no or lower child support, and any other arrangements that you and your child’s other parent agree to.

If you go to family court, however, a judge will likely apply your state’s child support calculator, with no flexibility.

You and your child's other parent can always create your own parenting plan, for free, and filt it in your local courts:

District of ColumbiaFlorida
NevadaNew Hampshire
New JerseyNew Mexico
New YorkNorth Carolina
North DakotaOhio
PennsylvaniaRhode Island
South CarolinaSouth Dakota
West VirginiaWisconsin

Child support reform promotes father involvement

Fatherlessness is a public health crisis, that affects every facet of American life. Antiquated child support laws and collection enforcement are at the root of this issue.

A whole body of work studying lack of father involvement finds that when a child is raised without active involvement of a father, they are likely to suffer:

  • Diminished sense of physical and emotional security (children consistently report feeling abandoned when their fathers are not involved in their lives)
  • Behavioral and social problems, including with friendships
  • Poor academic performance. 71% of high school dropouts are fatherless
  • High crime, as 85% of youth in prison have an absent father
  • Fatherless children are more likely to have sex before age 16, not use contraception during first intercourse, and become teenage parents, and transmit STDs.
  • More likely to use and abuse alcohol and other drugs.
  • 90% of runaway kids have an absent father.
  • Mental health disorders (father absent children are consistently overrepresented on a wide range of mental health problems, particularly anxiety, depression and suicide)
  • As adults, fatherless children are more likely to experience unemployment, have low incomes, remain on social assistance, and experience homelessness)
  • Poor future relationships (father absent children tend to enter partnerships earlier, are more likely to divorce or dissolve their cohabiting unions, and are more likely to have children outside marriage or outside any partnership)
  • Higher mortality rates (fatherless children are more likely to die as children, and live an average of four years less over the life span)

A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my child.”

How to avoid child support

Search the Internet and you will find all kinds of shady and illegal ways to hide your income, get fired and other nefarious ways to avoid paying child support. Here are a few legal ways to get out of paying support:

  • Terminate your parental rights
  • Agree to allow another adult adopt the child
  • The child been emancipated or enlisted for military duty
  • Both parents agree to a settlement, including a parenting plan in which no child support is paid
  • Increasingly, despite what laws may be on the books in your state, judges are ordering equal parenting time with no or reduced child support.
  • If you current pay child support, but the time-sharing has moved to a 50/50 schedule, you can file for a child support review to have it revised. Here is a free child support review letter tempate.

50/50 parenting and time-sharing is better for all families, everywhere

If women know they can never rely on a man outside of marriage for income, we will make different, better decisions about our careers, and money.

When divorce courts force both sexes to participate in the workforce and with children in equal measure, that message trickles into all families — including married and single-people homes.

When both sexes are forced by court or social pressure to parent equally, men and women on corporate boards, in Congress, in C-suites, and on down make different, better policies for workers and families.

Plus, this presumed, equal and fair arrangement relieves courts of the endless bickering and petitions that distract from extreme cases — like actual abuse and neglect — for which deviation from this rule would be appropriate.

Strong workforce participation by women is great for children, as studies have shown. Strong workforce participation by women is great for the economy, national security and societal stability.

How SAHMs divorce

How 50/50 parenting and time-sharing affect the pay gap

When parenting time is shared equally, single moms would have so, so much more time to invest in their careers and businesses.

When parenting is equal, moms are not the default caregiver when kids barf in the night and need to stay home from school.

50/50 custody means moms would not automatically be the parent that must leave work early for teacher meetings, or systematically forgo career-advancing work travel or evening networking events.

More equal time affords moms much-needed time to rest, exercise and develop relationships and interests outside of their kids that make women happier mothers and more productive citizens.

This survey of 2,279 single moms found a direct correlation between time-sharing equality, and the women’s income and attitudes about motherhood: more time equality meant more income, and more satisfaction with parenting.

When dads not only have equal parenting time, but also equal parenting responsibility, fathers are forced to make the hard work-life decisions that women have known for generations, leveling the workplace playing field.

Decisions like whether to take time off after having a child, or scale back a career to nurture young children — the very hard decisions that women have made for generations, and are at the root of the pay gap.

Finally, joint physical custody equalizes parents not only in separated and divorced families, but all families. Laws supporting 50/50 custody change family culture. If equal parenting were the norm, this would create a collective mind shift at home, work and in the bedroom.

After all, time and again when asked how we will ever close the pay gap, experts cite affordable child care. Having half of the time off from your kids, who are in the safe and loving care of the other parent, is as good as it gets. No expensive state or federal budgets required! No politically charged policy to pass! JUST SPLIT TIME EQUALLY BETWEEN PARENTS!

4 examples of 50-50 parenting schedules

Celebrities practicing 50/50 equal co-parenting:

Common concerns about 50/50 custody, no child support

I know the pushback:

I am the better parent. I am the mother! I don’t want him to have more than 30% visitation. It’s not good for the kids.

If he is safe to be with the kids 30% — or 10%, or 20% — he is safe to be with them 50%.

A review of 60 peer-reviewed studies that find that shared parenting is best for children in separated and divorced families.

This is true even in cases where there is high conflict between the parents, or one is richer than the other.

Just because the child lived in your uterus does not mean you get more say in how they are raised.

However, if you work on practicing equally shared co-parenting, you may find that both parents can grow in their parenting — and know that their children benefit from it. More tips on how to co-parent in this post.

Men will never step into their full father potential if we keep assuming they are the inferior parent. In fact, many men and women both attest to the fact that fathers really improved their parenting after divorce. These parents say that this happened because:

  1. They were forced to — the mom wasn’t there all the time to swoop in when parenting was stressful. This is hardly surprising. Parenting is not rocket science, and men and women are born equipped for the job. Keep in mind that humanity has thrived based on the model of very young, uneducated people raising other to adulthood. Parenting is not a higher calling requiring of special skills or education.
  2. There was no mom nearby micromanaging his parenting. Now alone with the kids, the dad now had room to grow into the father he was meant to be.

We agreed I would give up my career to stay with the kids, and it is not fair that my standard of living is compromised because he wants to divorce!

You’re not a child, and he is not your father. You entered into marriage knowing the risks.

You are an adult woman who as political and economic rights that you chose not to exercise.

That was not a good decision, and I am sorry you made them, but it is not another person’s responsibility to pay for those decisions.

If you want a higher standard of living, you are free to pursue a career that will afford you that.

Now that he has the kids 50%, you have plenty of time to do that.

How to file for divorce 101

He is supposed to take the kids half the time but never shows up. I still shouldn’t pursue child support?

That is a decision that you have to make.

Yes, if he doesn’t care for the kids half the time, he should step up and care for them financially.

But keep in mind these things:

  • He will always and forever resent giving you that money and it will be a wedge between you in any co-parenting.
  • Psychologically, taking that money will likely hold you back. He is a man you are no longer tied to romantically, and from whom you are (or should be) striving to create a separate life. Money ties people together. You risk being dependent on him. Tread carefully.

What to do if your ex shows up late or not at all — all the time

My kids are so little! My baby is nursing! 50/50 doesn’t make sense!

I agree. This is about being reasonable and what is good for the greater sum, without abandoning the individuals.

Nursing babies and their moms, temporarily, require certain circumstances. So do disabled adults, and deployed military.

If today you commit to 50/50 parenting starting at age 1 with increased time with the father now, that defuses conflict and builds trust that the spirit of your agreement is indeed fair.

A broader societal move to default, equal parenting and no child support will not be painless. But they are necessary steps in an evolution towards financial and parental equity.

Note that in cases where ‘standard’ visitation is awarded — every-other-weekend — fathers become depressed and non-involved, and within 3 years, one study found, 40% of children in an unequal visitation arrangement had lost complete touch with their non-custodial parents, which are nearly always the father.

How to be a successful single mother

Bottom line: Why not to fight your ex for child support, alimony or other money

Money is often cited as the No. 1 thing divorcing couples fight over. Financial disagreements clog the courts and wrack up attorney bills — not to mention burn untold units of stress and misery for each party, their children and anyone within earshot.

This money-related financial tension carries over after breakups and divorce. Often, women tell me that they can't move forward with their lives because they are stuck financially because of money their ex owes. They tell me: I can't afford to go back to school / advance my career by traveling or taking additional responsibilities because there is no money for child care — because he won't pay. 

He may very well owe you that money. Morally and legally, you may be entitled to it.

But sometimes you can be so right, you are wrong. After all, the average sum of child supported ordered monthly is less than $300, and total child support owed is actually paid just 40 percent of the time. What if you let that all go and focused on earning big, big money. I want every woman to understand what it feels like to be financially independent. Only then do you truly step into your power, and live your life in the biggest, most authentic way possible.

15 signs your wife or husband is ready for divorce—and what to do now

Life is not fair. There are laws designed to protect women and children in divorce, and there is also the universal law of what is just. But there is also the legal system, and it is messed up, unfair and is designed to support mainly the rich. Unless you're Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods, there is often a very low threshold to cross before it stops making sense to spend money on lawyers to get what you are owed. Do the math. Then take a deep breath. Let the breath go. And let that money go, too.

2. You're fighting for money he doesn't have

You can't get blood from a stone, as the old adage goes. Sure, he may owe you tens of thousands of dollars in back child support. You could have the courts take his car and send him to jail. But if you honestly know that he doesn't have that cash, do you really want to do that? Yes? What do you get in return?

How to deal if you're a woman/mom paying child support

3. You're building a lifestyle around someone else's money — that you may never get

When you create a budget based on money you get from someone else, you are dependent on them. This is never a good idea. For financial reasons, that money may never materialize — or suddenly disappear. Men's child support and alimony doesn't show up if he loses his job, becomes disabled and cannot work, dies, refuses to pay for whatever reason, or has another child and is allowed by the courts to pay less. Plus, don't you just want to stop fighting and earn your own money? Doesn't that sound really, really delicious — to never be dependent on him or another man again?

Why alimony hurts gender equality

Close the pay gap? Get dads involved? No child support and shared parenting

4. You're fighting for money in divorce out of spite

Anger and spite are normal. God knows I've spent a lot of time being pissed at my ex! But exuding all that negative energy to take revenge is not a good reason to fight for money — even if you're entitled to it. Good reasons include providing a better life for yourself and your kids and/or because the money is genuinely yours.

[7 single-mom stereotypes that keep women broke, exhausted and alone]

5. He needs the money more than you do

Maybe each of your financial situations have changed. Maybe you have indeed moved on and are now killing it financially. Maybe he lost his job and is struggling. Maybe you're both stable, but you see that the money in question could help him out a whole lot more than it could help you. And now that you've moved forward, and you are no longer spiteful and angry, you have the energy to do the right thing.

[Highly paid work-at-home careers for moms]

6. Fighting for money is exhausting and bad for the kids

Divorce is one of the most stressful, draining crises a person can go through. In many cases — especially if there are children and significant assets involved — it is worth taking your time with a good lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement. But until the mailman delivers the manilla envelope containing your signed divorce decree, you will likely feel that your whole world is in limbo. Letting some stuff go moves everyone forward — including the kids.

After all, the more conflict between you and your ex, for whatever reason, means the children suffer at the hands of it. He might legally owe you, but sometimes you can be so right you're wrong.

Co-parenting is your priority now, and that is hard to do peacefully if you are fighting over money. Read my tips on how to co-parent with your ex, peacefully, as well as all the science-based research on why equally shared parenting is best.

One of the first co-parenting apps, and widely used app, OurFamilyWizard, which features chat, information storage (like pediatrician and teacher contact info, prescriptions, etc.), and financial record-keeping. 30-day free trial,  discounts for military families, and a program to provide OurFamilyWizard free to low-income families. Each parent can add unlimited numbers of other people for free, including children, grandparents, step and bonus parents, as well as attorneys.

Try OurFamilyWizard for free for 30 days now >>

Read OurFamilyWizard review on

7. You hold yourself back when you fight your ex for money

Deepak Chopra tells us that human beings have infinite energy, and I accept that to be true. But we are also physical beings living in the real world, and a girl only has so much energy to go around.

When you are dependent on his money, you are dependent on HIM. Dependence is never healthy. It holds you back, keeps you embroiled in a romantic relationship that is over, with someone who you likely don't care for much.

You have a choice: Spend your time, energy and power to fight with him, or invest that time and energy and power in yourself to earn far more money than he owes you from his 401(k). After all, when it comes to earning and building wealth, the sky is the limit!

7 ways to get your single mom money act together this month—once and for all!

5 tips for a quick divorce

My mantra: The best revenge is living well.

Divorce Corp and Erasing Family documentaries

Kickass Single Mom, Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children, By: Emma Johnson

Blend, The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, By: Mashonda Tifrere

Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You, By: by Amy J. L. Baker, PhD and Paul R Fine, LCSW

Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing, By: Dr. Richard A. Warshak

Are you part of the Facebook group, Millionaire Single Moms? No income requirement, though BIG GOALS and a positive MINDSET required! Join now!

Why is child support so unfair to fathers?

Child support is built on the presumption that one parent (mothers) care for the children while another (father) pays for them. This shoehorns men and women into sexist roles, with men forced to be the breadwinner. founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.


Emma, hats off to you for taking on such a controversial topic. While I appreciate your perspective I am curious as to what you might say to a woman in my situation. I was making six figures when I met my ex husband. I continued to work even after having three children. My ex applied for a job in another state. I had never even considered being a stay at home mom but when he got the job, our circumstances changed. I gave up a lot so my ex could take this job. We moved 1600 miles away from family and friends and I gave up my job to make sure that our children stayed happy and healthy throughout the transition.
Two months ago my ex decided he wanted a divorce. I am 47 years old. Should I expect to get the same type of 6 figure salary job that I had in my late 20’s early 30’s? Am I not entitled to anything? I certainly believe that it is better for children to have a happy/healthy relationship with both parents. I have not bashed my ex or attempted to manipulate my kids feelings in any way. I still have to feed them, buy clothing for them, provide a roof over their heads, etc. etc. I also want to make sure that they have a positive mindset. Should I sacrifice my kids so that I can work and make sure my ex doesn’t have to pay me anything?
Let’s face it, most people don’t go into marriage preparing for a divorce. To be honest, I feel as though I have been hit by a tornado that I wasn’t prepared for. Yet it sounds like you expect me to bounce right back up on my feet. Society seemed to frown on me each time I decided to go back to work after having a child. Now you are telling me I should have? I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Everyone’s circumstances are different. Not every woman is a vengeful witch just looking at their ex as a paycheck, and you should consider that.

Hi Denise – I understand why you feel like your situation is unfair – and it probably is. One thing I’d like to emphasize is that it is not better for children to have a stay-at-home parent. Hundreds of studies find that children, mothers, marriages, the economy and other entities do better when mothers and fathers work for pay. We were all fed another line, but that was not the truth.
Also, you did make a decision to stop working, which was your right. You knew there were risks of divorce, that relying on a single income is precarious for any family. You took that risk, and now must face the consequences. You are not entitled to any level of income or lifestyle just because you once had that. There is no proof that because you once made 6-figures that you would continue on that trajectory. Finally, while we know SAH parenting is not good for kids, we DO know low-conflict co-parenting is. When money changes hands between divorced moms and dads, conflict ensues.

So overall I agree with your article Emma. I’m a woman too that thinks the default should be 50/50 custody. That fathers should be seeing their kids an equal amount of time. Perhaps only prolonged periods of time of not seeing their kids does child support come up. I’m thinking a prolonged period would be a year since it gives a person quite a bit of time if they are going through something to figure it out and then resume seeing their kids 50/50 again. As for if someone has been out of the workforce for years or decades to look after kids.. I don’t think it’s proper to give nothing for this transition since they both made the decision together. At the same time this assistance can’t last forever. And I believe on this aspect of the law it does with that way.. you can only get spousal support for a few years right? That means both spouses will soon be completely independent from each other financially, which I do agree is the goal.

Your article ignores my case: Dad petitioned for 50% custody only to keep them away from me out of spite but is not present with them. Dad made more money than most people will in a lifetime. Dad bought vacation homes, cars, race horse, gambles away support. Deadbeat dads win, in my experience. They can hide cash; they don’t care if you take away their license, they still drive! The BS the department of child support. They ignore deadlines and orders to pay.

Your commentary about moms who agreed to stay to be you…is heartless and cold. We didn’t go into staying home ever thinking: Wow, this is a dumb idea in case we divorce. We went into it with the best of the kids’ interests in mind. You are arrogant and cold not to feel for women.

How about you go two months without YOUR income and see how that feels.

A signed court order that a dad agrees to needs to be carried out with harsher penalties. Stay at home moms don’t get the years back they sacrificed to stay at home. They don’t start at the same pay grade but the cost of living went up. Get real, Emma, and fight for these women not against them.

Deadbeat dads who CAN pay and have the money but choose not to pay should be in jail. Guaranteed my ex would only do this once. His “business” won’t suffer because he pretends he is self-employed when he’s not. You get an equally corrupt partner to cover for you and you hide your cash flow. Walk a mile in my shoes, Emma, before you write such nonsense.

Here is my issue. 50/50 custody. She is a teacher who makes $96,500 a year. I am in sales, and make $82k a year. I can make commission, not guaranteed. She just so happens to wait 2 years and decides to go for child support once she found out I had a good year, and my lease was up, and I had a new baby. so they are basing child support off my best year ever at $113k. AND because she is a teacher with a “forced retirement” AKA pension, that lowers her “income” and screws me twice! There was no “need” for support for two years, now there suddenly is? There are a lot of fathers out there, like me, that get destroyed financially because of spiteful women like her. I am not a deadbeat, and I actually have the kids more, but not at the 220 night threshold that would consider me having majority custody. So while she is out and about going on vacations and long weekends doing whatever, I gladly take the kids for those extra nights. So I am paying for her to live like a queen while I struggle to pay bills. This is a problem, just as there are deadbeat dads, there are women taking full advantage of a broken system.

Women are just as irresponsible as men. There is birth control for both women and men. It’s just as much a females problem as a males. Women seem to believe they are entitled to a man’s money by trapping him into becoming a father. Sorry but your way of thinking that a man should be the one to support financial needs and the only support financially is old world. Maybe back when you had children in the 40′ or 50′ era you would be more accurate. Out of date thinking for you.

He helped make the child. There would be no child without his semen. Period. End of discussion. It takes two to tango. You are responsible for your offspring both financially and physically…until they reach 18.
If you don’t like the arrangement, don’t breed.

Wow, just wow. If men are equal parents then they are also equal in the decision to have children and support them. Abusive and controlling men demand 50/50 custody for exactly the reason to harm ex and kids financially and continue to control ex through the kids. How about treating family decisions as just that, jointly made with joint benefits and joint costs? You jointly had kids, if you decided to invest in one parents career over the other for the sake of their career needs and the children’s needs it is just as easy to “fix” this issue by recognizing that the family income as earned and possible by two adults contributions and decisions. Your hope to make women destitute who gave up years of career and lifetime earnings by giving economic benefits to a single individual, does not rectify the problem by ensuring that future women realize they should never ever make family decisions that are not just based on their own individual benefits. I guess it would reduce unpaid labor and redistribute gender issues but there’s a reality that is missing here where people stop having kids because there is no systemic or legal protections even in cases of abuse. Maybe that is what needs to happen before policy makers start to care about valuing unpaid contributions and giving protections to women. There are far better ways to reduce conflict than screwing over the children and letting the moneyed spouse take all their benefits with them with no obligations over sharing the cost and time of childcare.

You probably don’t realize it and are trying to be a smart ass here, but the conclusion you’ve come to has already been understood by many men out here. Have you heard of the Red Pill community? MGTOW? Free Agent Lifestyle? All of these groups are essentially full of men who have realized the best way to live life in the modern era is to just not breed at all (especially with American women). So looks like you will get your wish because the marriage rate has already fallen to the lowest it’s been in history and if poor people would stop breeding as much you’d notice that a huge amount of the higher paid middle class residents like myself simply live lives without women or kids at all. Why involve ourselves in this corrupt system? Breeding and sex isn’t THAT necessary and certainly isn’t worth all this ridiculous heartache to deal with you females after breakups and divorces the way we have been forced to for decades.

This article is disgusting. It ignores completely that women are at a disadvantage when it comes to a career while choosing to take care of their children.

This also ignores the women’s right to move, ever. How blatantly ignorant and privileged.

Consequence? Really Emma? Way to put a negative spin on a huge sacrifice. Privilege? Really? How about choices. The choice to live a lesser lifestyle for the best interests of the kids. Where do you hold men accountable here? It’s his job to provide for his family divorced or not. That is the consequence of his actions. That is his responsibility. Why let him off?

You are disgusting. And should use spell check at the least. You are advocating for who?! Not Single mothers because this article does not reflect that. There are so many issues and circumstances regarding children/court orders/fathers that you do not address. Obviously you have never been in the situation of a REAL single mother.

Dear Dianna, women like you disgust me. You are a rotten piece of shit. Custody should be, by default, shared. Not a forced and expensive uphill battle for father’s rights to be a father. Take your bullshit elsewhere, get off your ass, get a God damn job, and stop mouching off the welfare system.

Diana I’ve seen it said to a man that he should have never left the province he had a job to be by her family because now it made the default province the place he had trouble finding a job. I’m sorry but you can’t just move away. It’s then you taking away the fathers access to his children.

There are some decent points made here, and in most cases they should be considered thoughtfully.

There needs to be a *huge* caveat on this set of hypotheses, though – if Intimate Partner Violence is present, 50/50 schedule and discussions about child support and sexist roles etc need to be completely set aside while the case is evaluated properly with a multidisciplinary approach per the Saunders study (2012). If not, the research shows the court will most likely get it wrong, or a well-meaning family law professional might pressure mom to make a deal that’s bad for the kids.

Now we know most domestic violence (up to 80% per Stark) is coercive control, so whether or not physical abuse exists, we need to start believing survivors and stop telling them to make deals which perpetuate (and sometimes increase) the harm to their children. Many survivors do not even realize they are being abused.

One indicator of coercive control is whether the case is relitigated (and contested) every few years, or in my case every year. If you know someone who keeps getting pulled back in to family court, a “family court abuser” is more often than not the culprit, perpetrating post-separation abuse and using the children to escalate his (most abuse is male on female) coercive control over the survivor. 50/50 in these situations is not an option as shared parenting isn’t possible; the abuser will not allow it.

The ACE study (CDC/Kaiser Permanente, 1997) shows that exposure to adverse childhood experiences should be minimized at all costs if we want children to have a shot at a functional life.

I have often worked with mothers who sacrificed money for children in the divorce (when their husbands say they’ll let them have more custody if the wife will not claim half the assets) only to be served with another lawsuit a year or two later, demanding more custody. At that point mothers have often lost the ability to fight for their children with a licensed attorney.

Despite the lower percentage of these cases compared to “normal” divorces, I feel it’s important to call this out since the numbers of domestic violence cases are going up and most of us don’t know about the new research available. This info doesn’t apply to most parents – thankfully – , but we are more prevalent than people realize and our children need as many allies as they can get. You may be able to recognize a friend or family member in this situation

Thanks for this article. It’s refreshing to see another mind on the same level as mine. I have been divorced now with 3 kids for 8 years. I lost my job with a salary of 6 figures in 2014. Couldn’t find work for 6 months and ended up moving to Sweden with my new wife. My salary here is about half of that in the US but I stay because 1st I am type 1 diabetic and two, health insurance is typically coupled to your employment. Here in Sweden it’s not and most jobs become permanent after 6 months with much better unemployment and single payer healthcare, so it is not coupled with the employment.

After I lost my job, I tried for 5 years to have my child support reduced. All the while, the $1700 a month I couldn’t pay (I pay around $500-600 a month every month since working in Sweden) has just fallen further and further behind. Along with that, she was awarded 100% legal custody of the children from the onset because “i am not religious and the kids would have a better upbringing in Utah” and I lived in Texas at the time. So now because I am behind on CS, I can not change custody and have been held in contempt twice for failure to pay the full amount of CS.

It’s good to hear your pov. I would like to be involved as much as I can if there ever is a movement to fix CS laws on a national level.

Mean while, your children still have to eat, need clothes, sneakers, medicine, etc. This is when your new wife income should be included if you can not pay your portion. Trust me, 600 a month isn’t enough to cover 3 growing children. ‍♀️

This one is a more complex issue. From the onset you don’t get equal custody which you should have. Since then you’ve made decision for yourself to move to another country and want the payments reduced as you’re making less money. This makes sense. If you had equal 50/50 access to your kids, I’d not be for you leaving the country and say in those circumstances you’d be required to pay child support. However if both parents are using their 50/50 custody, I do not see a need to pay child support. But since you were put in a financial bind in the first place.. you chose a country that you get the medical care you need..

This article is amazing! This is what every court needs to read this is what every court needs to have posted in their family courts. This is exactly what I did with my ex-husband and it works out great because my daughter could not be happier and after all it is about the child nothing else. I am engaged and my fiancé has a child from a relationship previous to me, and the child is almost 10 years old and the mother has physical placement, she continuously brings him back to court to lower or increase child support. She is always complaining about money and threatens to increase child support when she does not get her way as far as switching weekends or anything to do with me, she manipulates the situation and puts herself on a pedestal above everyone else around her. She has a husband now and she is still so angry and spiteful, when she found out he was engaged things got worse for him. She is getting 650 right now and 17% of his income would be about 850 a month but she did agree to the 650 amount. But now that she is more spiteful and angry since the engagement she has said she is taking him back to court to increase child support, he sees his son every other weekend and I feel that she does manipulate him because sometimes she won’t even abide by the court order, every summer time he is to have his son overnight three days every other weekend and she has been in contempt by switching it to tonight‘s on her own. I just don’t understand women like this because it is affecting their son and she is not saying that the only thing she sees is her self and she does not acknowledge what she’s doing wrong, and she is so very very wrong. I do feel she depends on his $, and she was told in a discussion that it doesn’t take 3 incomes (her,her husband, father) to raise 1 child. I don’t think or know if she’ll ever realize that she has been and is wrong, she doesn’t see the damage she’s doing to their child. Some women are just so ugly on the inside.

Hold up. Reverse. I am a father who wants to see my child. But when your ex does not want you to see your child. She does anything and everything to keep you out of the picture. And the court sides with her because I have a record. UNFAIR. The courts don’t look at the whole picture. I am a black male. Who has a record. I am not a bad dad. She made me out to be. When I used to have my son. He was with me. We did things together. The neighborhood kids’ parent allowed their children to come over to play with me and my son. But my ex is very spiteful and vindictive. Every time we went to court the judge never allowed me to speak on my behalf. If I had money or means I would have a lawyer. My ex lies to the court saying I did wrongful things. I not once hurt any child. For instance, her older son’s father passed away. She states I was at the park taunting her son about his father’s death. Who in their right mind would say something wrong to a child about their parent like that. Besides, I was working days when she stated this occurred. But the judge never allows me to speak. Also, I am not the 1 dating everyone and allowing my child to go with and stay over my my new friends family homes. What I’m trying to say she allows her male friend’s family to take him and stay with them. NOT RIGHT. Here I am with large amounts of child support to pay. I can’t keep a roof over my head because the amount of support that must be paid. Or I can’t get a steady job or a decent 1 due to my record. This is so unfair. I can’t see my son. But I must pay child support that I can’t afford. And she fills my son’s head up with negative things about me. All because she plays every angle she can to get her way. The guys that don’t want to have anything to do with their child has all the breaks. The good dads that want to see their child; their exes just make it impossible.

Absolutely 100% agree. The court system is completely rigged for the mom. The only guys I know that got 50/50 custody are the ones who their ex gave it to them. My ex wanted the child support money and the tax credit. So she only allowed me 2 nights a week. She’s in favor of me picking the kids up every day from school and feeding them dinner but somehow I’m not qualified to keep my own children overnight for more than 2 nights a week. I only do that because I want to see my kids. So I choose to see them every day because she threatened me with every other weekend and one night a week as the alternative to the parenting plan that we came up with. I’m a good dad and I coach their sports teams and I’m highly involved in their lives. The court system punishes guys like me. If I was a deadbeat it would be easy to skip out on child support and never see my kids. But I’m not like that. So I get punished. I have to live with my parents because I cannot afford a house of my own because of the unfair judgement rendered to me because I’m a dad. There needs to be some big changes. They are creating a fatherless society.

Same situation. Vindictive ex, receiving 3 child tax benefits, 2 disability credits and welfare. Demanding full child support, which is almost $550/MTH for twins. I have repeatedly requested a fair and equal shared custody agreement. Can not afford to pay support, or I’ll end up homeless, so stopped. I also have a 10 yr old which the courts flat out refused shared custody of, so I pay $200/MTH for her. Ex says we have court in November. Court will probably side with her, again, despite her abuse against me for over a year. I will probably end up killing myself after that court date. I refuse to pay a dad tax when I am a good father to my children, and have asked multiple times for shared custody. Can not be double paying. I still have to provide for them, my bills, rent, etc on my income, with no support. Been thinking of just sitting in my tub and plunging a knife into my heart…after I go public with the court transcripts, due to their sexual discrimination and extreme bias. I’ve never done a thing wrong in my entire life. Been steadily employed over 20 years, and have a decent paying job now. I will not submit to extortion.

The one huge point the authors misses and does not address is that women have several options after they either have sex or realize they’re pregnant.

– Plan B – A man can’t take a Plan B pill. A woman can.
– Abortion – Even though this is not a desirable option, women do have it, and they don’t have to tell anyone
– Adoption – If a woman decides she can’t afford a child, she does have this right. The man does not. So the woman can decide to keep the child for herself and then enforce support

In the case where a man makes it clear he does not want the same things from the get go, any kind of child support is theft.

Women can do anything , but it took 2 people to make kids why one parent has to carry the burden while another decides to give up on his/ her responsibilities to the kids. child support is for the kids, not for the mothers. that’s why I disagree with this article completely. Mother make sacrifices for their kids all the time, even pregnancy takes a toll on your body. Dad’s should be paying child support or contribute one way or another to the children.. and it’s ok to fight for your children’s rights.

Why do women act like they don’t or didn’t know the science of Family planning from the get-go? You knew the entire setup when you got pregnant with your children. You were born in it and experienced it from your mother that males have a different setup. Unless you had a bad science teacher and didn’t get taught about Family planning that’s on you. You females date and mate with males who are not developed yet and then are upset that it wasn’t in your time for his maturity. Because you know you carried a child you should be taking your time that’s nobody else’s fault but your own. You mate with underdeveloped partners is a sign of your under development.

Why do you perpetrate this ideal that men are delinquents or deadbeats? Surely by the laws of averages, half the women are the issue. You have no right to our income. It is the children’s. Now, shared custody and each parent support the children themselves should be the standard.

But you chose to lay down with that guy. That’s your fault having sex out of wedlock knowing babies are made that way. You are to date, Marry, then have sex. Child support puts another human being in jail and takes their life away. That’s a cold soul to think a materialistic thing is worth taking someone’s life from them. Don’t women take any pride anymore in taking care of what they love their dam selves?

And what if we as father’s, want to support our children on our own, through a shared custody agreement? I suppose you’re against equal rights are you? This mindset you have only harms the children and a father’s ability to be a father. Women like you should rot in hell.

Right two adults made the children and so have a responsibility to take equal care of the children with 50/50 custody. The one area where I differ from the author is if one parent is not seeing their child, then at that point they’ll have to pay support

My issue is my children are about to enter college and one is already in college. My husband and I are getting divorces and I make more money then he does. The kids will only be home Max 4 months out of the year. As the wife why am I paying monthly as if she has child care expenses. How do you prevent husband from using money for himself and not the kids. Rationing money that he give the children which is very little but just enrich himself. The rules do not make sense for College ages children.

I believe the 1st option for both parents in a custody battle is to have the chance of 50/50 split custody with no support. Every court should have that set in the law of Every state! Give each parent the choice, they both should have equal rights to their children..,Then if one parent cannot meet the 50/50 split standards. The courts can adjust support on the visitation schedule that each parent can do and there incomes.

Absolutely absurd, in my expert opinion. My children were/are raised solely by me. 1st father alcoholic/drug addict, depressed, mentally ill, low income by choice, low class family, never once helped raise child and paid 8 months of cs total in 18 years, I never went after bc I know it will come back to me eventually. Law of universe.
2nd child father is present but depressed, can’t handle much time without a breakdown, pays me $1000.00 a mo for rent / food and pays out of pocket for constant dr apps for child who battles lyme / allergies/ genetic abnormalities yet child is on a genius level. Not taking him for cs anytime soon since the effort is there, only complaint – he wants to be a couple and due to his diet I can’t sacrifice mine and child’s way of life (lyme diet/lifestyle strict) to allow Gatorade and lunch meat in my home.

Boo hoo it sounds like you’re the magnet for your own poor choices. The depressed mentally ill party is you. You’re not a victim you’re self destructive

This is an excellent article that starts a Child Support discussion that is long overdue. Is there any legislature in the making geared toward changing Child Support laws?

Child support is for the child, not for the caregiver.
Please check how much it costs to raise a child before dumping on (mostly women) who request child support for the children. Not everyone can do 50/50 ( think long distance parents etc).
It costs over 250,000$ to raise a child to age 18.
The payer parent always have the opportunity to work a side huddle but the primary parent hands are tied to parenting .
Daycare, toys ( min 20$ per toy and they break)
Clothes ( cheap clothes gets holes)
Gas ( extra trips to appts, activities etc )
Children’s shoes
School supplies
Food ( kids are picky)
Medications ( for all the colds they pick up)
Lost income from work ( cannot leave them alone
when school shut down, sick etc)
Higher water bills( extra baths etc)
Higher utilities ( more cooking, remember picky eaters?)
Money for after school, field trips
Eyeglasses, dentists
Higher insurance premiums
Personal care supplies( children soap, creams, sunscreen as cannot typically use adult type products)
Parking at work since the primary caregiver has to do the school/ daycare runs

TLDR: Children are expensive. Both parents made the child and both parents are responsible for financially supporting them. The cost and burdenof raising the child should not fall squarely on the shoulders of the primary caregiver. The primary caregiver spends more money but loses on income potential due to caring for dependent children.

lol Brad! But I agree. Shared custody. Mother and father don’t get to move long distance away from the other parent making it impossible for 50/50 custody to exist

She did a great job with this article. It’s very cardinal, accountable and boss. It’s clean and clear and many of the underdeveloped females of the world can’t handle it but will stay struggling

She sounds like she is taking up for men in this article. Men who work but don’t want to pay child support should wear protection so that they don’t have children. It is so emotionally immature to look at paying child support which is for the child as attack on them. Mother’s who have primary custody may indeed need the Financial support and a Real Fathers don’t mind providing for his kids financially.

Thank you for this. It is too late for myself and my 2 sons but hopefully this may help future fathers. I was in between. After divorce I never made enough to fight for more time in court and made just enough to rent a dump. No college, couldn’t afford it. Worked 70 hours per week to pay bills. Never saw my kids and my ex told them I was a terrible father and told me they didn’t want to spend time with me. It hurts but its the way it goes. I only hope they don’t turn out like me.

There is another disadvantage to child support. It makes women lazy. I’m happily married to my husband and we have two kids but based on observation, divorced moms who rely on child support and don’t work are the laziest people I’ve ever met. They don’t remember important times such as when to pick up her kid from our house, rarely brush their hair, and speak slowly as if their brain is permanently on vacation. In order to keep these women’s brains and bodies from atrophying to the point that they need a nursing home by the age of 45, child support needs to be cut off. No one should be paid to be a do-nothing.

And you know all of this to be fact, HOW ? Because you’ve done your research and completed extensive studies?? You really need to stop generalizing and know everyone has their own circumstances. In a nursing home by 45yrs old because they asked for child support!? Oh please! Your post IS A JOKE.

How can this even be an argument? She is absolutely right. If custody is 50 / 50. Each parent is paying just as much as the other for utilities- food and so on. They are giving just as much care. What part of that means I should have to subsidize your lack of effort. Why would anyone work or try to do better – when they can not work and make as much as the higher earner?? We all know this system is ridiculous- but there are too many free lunch CUSTODIAL PARENTS out there.

Is article talks about the mother getting money, does this writer forget that there are children involved. Does this writer even have kids. Super ignorant article. Definitely hands down ignorance right herr.

Equal parenting time will reduce the amount of money you will need to care for the child. The other parent has to provide for the child when the child is with them. I think, unfortunately, many women reduce the father’s portion of raising children to money, as they don’t see value in the time the child spends with their father. This mentality has caused so much harm in our society. I agree with this article and I am a mom. And yes, women do have the ability to abuse the system, which only harms the child and deprives them of stability. I’m not saying there aren’t deadbeat dads, but there are many, many good fathers out there who are completely overwhelmed and crushed by the current system, while it does not help the mother out much in the long term either.

I agree with the article as well. Look at the threat of women commenting they need counseling. I can’t believe that many of them are mothers in the first place.

Agreed. If we had no child support and 50/50 custody from the get go, we’d quickly see who the real deadbeats are. Right now the system muddies the waters

Wow. One of the few out there in support of equality. Shared custody should be the norm. Not a long, expensive custody/support battle against a corrupt.and biased court system.

I live in Pennsylvania and I’ve been trough divorce process for two years, I’m totally disagree how courts handle situation, I agreed that is a responsibility of a men help kids or pay child support while divorce process, what I not agree is pay spouse support, I don’t who was the stupid who set on the books man has to pay spouse support while in divorce process why they make enough the work too, don’t they have enough with child support money.. so I been paying child support and spouse support for two years, now that I’m almost at end of divorce they add 2 years or alimony this is ridiculous.. are women’s slaves or what court should do better, this is like kill man future..I wish someone could fix this situation because by ruin man life court are also contributing on ruin kids life too because some woman are not in the best interest on rise kids life, they just want man’s money like in my case.. my poor kids are not doing good at school and also have not confortable living at home.

You make some good points but a lot of it is bias towards men. You rule out the point where some women intentionally seek to get pregnant in order to sustain their income. There are more then 60% percent of woman that do just fine and use government resources even when it is not needed. Also how some married women intentionally leave their husband, some leave to start a whole new family and divorce the husband without him knowing and run off with their kids. It’s common especially in the military. Some women. Their is a difference and doing something because it’s morally a standard than being told to do so or you will go to jail.
You can’t just say that kids act out and get into trouble more because the lack of involvement of a parent. History has proven with many people that even if there is it happens. A lot of the times its vice versa. The main issue is people become parents that shouldn’t be. Then put the idea that its one of the other parents fault for them growing up that way. Majority of the parents in society shouldn’t be. Some be kids raising kids so how do you expect a change from that.
Get your facts completely straight before you make these nmbias statements because there is always to sides of a story and your just telling one side with a little bit of research to clean it up to make it less bias. When really you should be talking about how people don’t know how to raise their kids properly and it makes them turn out that way. Woman should be held more accountable for some things also that’s why the laws haven’t changed because it would effect the beneficiar of the most regardless if its the mother or the father of the child(ren).

You deserve to be well recognized for that statement. Your point is with out a doubt a true and solid foundation that presents a good fundamental argument of countless recurring bias-based injustices as well as the overall miscarriage of justice by the hands of any judicial review. The So called Family Legal system as an entity should be excessively scrutinized and all of it’s unconstitutional/unethical practices need to be immediately abolished. The need for developmental reform in this critically damaging part of the court system will only develop more unscrupulous hands of tyranny for those who exploit it simply to accumulate undue power over a vast group of people, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT DIRECTLY UNDERMINES THEIR ABILITY TO ACCUMULATE PERSONAL FINANCIAL GAIN and essentially impoverishing thus ultimately resulting in enslavement. The evermore and on going ways in which the legal system uses abusive power and control as a useful tool at it’s disposal, in my experience, FAMILY COURT IS THE EPITOMIZED PERSONIFICATION.

I am a single mom and my daughter lives with me in Illinois. The father lives in California. He views the child as a business transaction. After 9 years battling for child support I was placed in around $46,0000.00 of debt. The father makes $38,000.00 per month and I make $87,000.00. I fail to see how the shared income model is fair in this circumstance. Why would a judge place the mother in financial debt?

My husband has two children from two different mothers. When we got married I suggested that he pay through the system opposed to directly to the mothers. Fortunately, the mothers did not refute that we had made payments when we received an invoice from the Attorney General for just one child for 200k+ to pay. For this particular child, my husband even paid more beyond his salary. He always paid. Once in the system, she took my husband to mediation and he asked for the additional support to be placed in a trust and or for college. The mother disagreed. She never worked and remarried and my step son shared a room with his half sister. We then went to court in the mothers county and the child was 16. We never missed a payment. The police officer said to my husband, you don’t pay child support, and he said I do, I’m here for an increase. We then were bound to pay the % by salary not including the child with the other mother or all the items and care we pay for, $1700. Monthly to a mother that has never worked during her child’s life. We pay the other mother 1,100 a month. We’re broke. My husband in the energy sector that has not done well was laid off and started his own business when he couldn’t get a job to me getting laid off to both just trying to make it to paying the mothers and deferring our mortgage. One child is now is 21 and the other is 9. We continued to pay support for the under ager and paid to help the older one directly. Eventhough we paid child support to the 9 year olds mother and my husband and I had the child the majority of the time, my and my husband’s stimulus checks went to the mother. The mother said she’d pay me back. Didn’t happen. She took my step son and his 10 year old sibling from a different male to Greece for a month.

My dad didn’t pay my mom child support. I was born in 1970. My mom never spoke badly of my father. Not sure if today’s mandates are because of the father’s of the past not paying with no consequences and that’s why the police officer in the court said what he did to my husband in an area where the cost of living is 8% lower than the states average, 15% lower than the national average and 38% lower in housing. Meanwhile, they lived on land that her grandparents owned and my step son shared a room. We lived in the city with higher pricing; 99% higher.

I’m all for supporting the child, but did we over index? How is my husband and I paying child support, providing clothing and with the child and providing for the older one barely hanging on.

I did everything I could. Paternity test, court cases; got my 50/50 and paid support. Now I’m reduced to 4 days a month by the mother, forcibly.

She’s been taken to court for contempt, but nothing came of it. She filed for more support, and I expect it to double, and destroy me financially.

I’m going to die financially, and then physically, when my stock of pork and beans runs out, and the electric goes out — So, I’m going to court 1 finally time, to terminate my rights, so that I can live, to maybe one day, see our child again.

Drug dealers that never worked a day in they’re lives getting that 1200 before me, I actually pay child support but was recently laid off for a couple of months now I’m back working through an crisis risking my life to keep America up and running still getting taxes took out my check during this pandemic still paying child support and still not getting a check that I’m entitled to as a American during a pandemic, America basically saying I’m the scum of the earth becus I’m on child support, mothers rightnow receiving a check every month plus just got taxes plus the fathers that behind taxes plus they’re stimulus checks plus ours and we left to figure it out …. this is the biggest joke ever.
My partner decided to have an affair and marry the guy. She split up our family with 5 young kids and tried to bankrupt me in the process.
They are now all in school, and she still refuses to get a job to help support them. She doesn’t spend the CS on them and beyond paying her each month, I purchase the majority of clothes, their car, their extra curricular activities, pay for all their cell phones all because she refuses to.
I’d get thrown in jail for not paying her the CS but she has absolutely zero accountability to spend it on them or help support them in any way. She does nothing but try to make my life miserable at every turn.
The system is completely broke. Especially when one parent tries to do the right thing against all odds and is not rewarded, just punished.
The law is unfair… I have a case with 5 kids $1000 monthly. It was unfortunate that I missed a couple of payments when I lost a good paying job due to an car accident that laid me off for many months. I later got those late payments off my reports all thanks to spirassp. You can just google Spirassp. It was a big deal but I had to give it a try and it worked perfectly.

Child support is a horrible… for the reason they allow bitter women ,petty women or individuals destroy people. My ex got piss because I moved on and didn’t want to get back with her she asked countless times.. I rejected and told her I think we better not talk if it’s gonna be about trying to be in a relationship for I moved on and I happy… well next thing you know….. I get a child support order… I called her she didn’t reply.. I text no reply.. finally she gets back to me and said.. you should have choose me over her now get the b*%^h to help you .. she laughed and says bye bye money.

I hope that works out fine. I am for sure never getting married again. Not even in my next life. My wife decided to have an affair and marry the guy. She split up our family with 5 young kids and tried to bankrupt me in the process.
They are now all in school, and she still refuses to get a job to help support them. She doesn’t spend the CS on them and beyond paying her each month, I purchase the majority of clothes, their car, their extra curricular activities, pay for all their cell phones all because she refuses to.
I’d get thrown in jail for not paying her the CS but she has absolutely zero accountability to spend it on them or help support them in any way. She does nothing but try to make my life miserable at every turn.
The system is completely broke. Especially when one parent tries to do the right thing against all odds and is not rewarded, just punished.
The law is unfair… I have a case with 5 kids $1000 monthly. It was unfortunate that I missed a couple of payments when I lost a good paying job due to an car accident that laid me off for many months. I later got those late payments off my reports all thanks to spirassp. You can just google Spirassp. It was a big deal but I had to give it a try and it worked perfectly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.