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Here is the 16th in a series of Divorce Corp polls. Please vote only once.

[polldaddy poll=7833235]

And here are the results accurate to within + or – 4%


These results are the first that came to a close vote. While a statistically significant majority believe that child support payments should be a fixed amount, there were a substantial number of people who believe it should be a percentage of income. Perhaps we should have had a third choice – percentage of income with a cap – since many of the comments centered on child support being for the needs of the child and not supplemental alimony for the ex-spouse.

While we understand the rationale for wanting child support tied to a percentage of income, we believe this will leave the door open to disputes over the parents’ income. Give the lawyers something to fight over – and they will. We want to simplify the family laws so that courts and lawyers and discovery are not necessary in the vast majority of cases.

123 thoughts on “Should child support be a fixed amount or a percentage of income? Poll #16

  1. I honestly think that child support should be eliminated if both parents are willing and able to care for the child. Child support is nothing more than a scam enforced by a government that has incentives to raise it as much as possible for their gains too.

    • The business of government is business its seems not to matter who they extort citizens or so called terrorist.

    • I guess the women that get child support weighed in on this vote since the results were so even

      total joke why does raising a child cost one person X and another person Y ???

  2. There should be no child support, nor alimony. Parents should have 50/50 shared time as well as financial responsibility. When the children are with mom, mom has the financial responsibility and vice versa when dad has the children. By doing this, much of the family Court battles will be put to rest and the lawyers less able to steal money from the children’s needs as well.

    • I’ll second your suggestion. It might be the only constitutionally valid solution – upholds Equal Rights of both parents, upholds Liberty interest of child to share equal time with each parent, and avoids Undue Burden on parents Liberty interests when state forces a provider-caretaker arrangement. plus, the current approach encourages the caretaker to make themselves look extremely needy leading to a self-fulfilling prophesy. Short of this, to respond to Jorge’s question, fixed support should be the model when appropriate due to validated cases of unfit parent. Support should be matched to what is provided foster parents and with same requirement for reporting expenditures.

    • It is interesting that when people get married, you are assuming that you both now own 50% of all of the joint assets. Yet the most important fruit of the marriage (the children) are treated as though they are an asset of the marriage and the battles that ensue over the children in an effort to gain financially is absolutely deplorable! Going with the equitable 50/50 split of parenting time and financial responsibility would have an very large impact on this 50 billion dollar a year industry. It is the right thing to do, but we need a lot of support to reform the existing legislation.

    • This is a sensible and fair idea. Regrettably the “legal” system will not let it happen. I’m pleased there are so many alerted to the corruption of the system.

    • As a paralegal who worked for a decade in a law office that was 90% family law I need to point out the weaknesses in your argument.
      There is usually a high earner and a low earner in a divorce. You are saying that a mom who was just supplementing the family’s income with her paycheck and did not have a career; just a job so she could take most of the responsibility for the children should not receive any kind of support. So she is supporting the children when she has them, on a salary of, e.g. $25,000 per year. Dad has a successful career and earns over $100,000 per year. What is he doing with his excess money, since he only has the children an average of 1-2 days per week because his hours are less flexible? Mom has to pay for housing that can accommodate, say, 3 children and the family home had far too high a mortgage so she couldn’t stay in it; Dad did. She also has to pay for their food when they’re with her, pay for school activities, since they’re usually with her, and burn gas getting them places. So you’re saying, “Sorry, Mom, (and Kids, when you’re with her), you just need to suck it up, because Dad shouldn’t have to help you in any way.” Well, who took care of the children, got them to activities, etc., and worked besides, to enable Dad to build/maintain that successful career? And please tell me how she is supposed to support these children all by herself, when two people were originally supporting them!

      • LInda, what you say makes sense if the higher earner parent refuses to share in raising the children. But in many instances, the higher earner wants to participate, often equally. And when the court denies that, and instead orders them to pay money to someone who has no obligation to spend the money on the children, it is a double injury. Your statement “…since he only has the children an average of 1-2 days per week because his hours are less flexible” is the issue. Most parents want their children half time and will create flexibility in their schedules to accommodate the children. But the courts do not give them the opportunity. Instead they try to solve the problem with money – and the children suffer the loss of a parent.

        • Agreed…its only the child/children that suffers. The winners out of this are both the attorney and the state to which is getting a percentage. Do you know that child support services charge a percentage as if it is a loan for Back Child support? This is all a scam.

        • Agreed! This was exactly our case. The children were allowed to move to another state after their father fighting for over a year for co-parenting and equally shared responsibility. And despite seeing the kids only one weekend a month and 9 weeks in the summer, their father pays nearly $2000 a month and pays for all expenses while they are in his care. We argued this to the tune of $60K in court costs only to be denied then later learned that opposing counsel was a considerable contributor to the judge’s campaign fund. So basically he pays for another man to raise his children, go to their school events, attend their sporting events, help them with homework, kiss them good night….all things he would much rather do for himself but was told by a judge he has no right to. A sad state of affairs for sure but I am glad to see so many people speaking out against the injustice.

        • Most parents do not have the ability to “create flexibility in their schedules.” Most have jobs and bosses that want them there when THEY want them there. I’ve seen Dads who want more time and simply give up considering it because it’s too much work. They would be too dependent on others helping them take the kids before or after work, get them to school, etc. There are divorcing parents who work out their schedules together to accommodate the children (one works first shift, the other works 2nd, etc.) but those are not the people who end up in front of the judge fighting over their kids, are they?

      • Linda, Your comments have two tremendous flaws. First is that you refer to the dad as being the wage earner and mother as the child care provider. This is often not the case in todays joint career families. The second mistake you make is to ignore that most everyone commenting on this site are saying that 50/50 parenting time and custody should be the norm. In these situations, neither parent should be shouldering more of the expenses for the minor children.

        • I agree, when I made the flexibility for my children and wanted 50/50 they said no that I was unable to do that I had it set up to work one week and one week off and if I had to work I had child care set up but all they seen was the loss of dollars out the door . The system is set up for a non custodial parent to pay and in return they get government money

        • Even in today’s joint career families, moms carry most of the child care burden. Moms spend twice as much time taking care of the children as dads do. What “should be” is not actuality. Only two thirds of fathers even want more than visitation, and I wonder how much of that is simply to piss off the mom and/or to avoid child support? Both sexes use the children, let’s be real. Linda’s scenario IS real. What “should be the norm” is not.

      • Increase the visitation time to more than 1 to 2 times a week. This way he can support his child when the child or children are under his care. See child support laws were setup during the old days where women didn’t work. Not all mothers make 25,000 dollars a year. Lets get facts straight. you are seeing this on the standpoint of the family law firm u work on. These are the arguments lawyers use. Lets take for instance my ex. She makes more than me and yet i still have to pay $1,000 a month in child support because of the bogus laws. Yes I went down to the IRS to request a copy of her taxes. She collects in taxes about $6,000 each year you tell me why does she need all that money for. The system is only destroying non-custodial parents by driving the so call bread winner into poverty. So stop drinking the Kool-aid that your employer is feeding you.

      • This traditional model is very outdated. What about the mother who worked when her kids were small in order to contribute to the family income instead of staying home with the kids like she wanted? Then, her husband files for divorce, petitions for full custody of the kids, and she ends up being ordered to pay HIM support for taking the kids away from her in court. She wants time with her kids more than anything, but is ordered to work to pay support instead. No, no – this is not about impoverished stay-at-home mommies. This is about greedy people who are using kids for revenge and payouts.

        • Sarah, your example is excellent. Hopefully men and women will now see how unfair it is to take children away from any fit parent, man or woman, and then expect payment from the parent who can no longer see their children.

      • The original poster was assuming 50/50 custody/parenting time. I agree that when one parent has the children more often (which isn’t always contested, it is sometimes due to the distance between homes that make it impossible to share 50/50), then child support may be warranted because the parent with the kids more often has to spend more money on them while in their care.

        In your scenario where Mom has the kids more often and makes 25k per year, support should be based on a basic flat rate, not a percentage of income. The money should be enough to handle food, clothes, medical and transportation, and that is it. That is the only duty of a married parent, why should there legally be a higher expectation of divorced parents? If Mom wants more money, maybe she should get busy and build a career of her own instead of leeching off her ex husband’s success. She has already had a pretty good deal if he was making 100k and she was making 25k, but that should end with the divorce. So yes, “Sorry Mom. You actually have to do some work now, like the rest of us.”

      • Linda, you’re argument is so unsound b/c you, as a former paralegal that probably perpetuated this type of negative perception of fathers, is really the core of the problem. While you may think that fathers don’t want to be a part of their kids lives at least 50% of the time, that’s really not the case, but only the lie that many in the family law industry like to play up in order to line their pockets with cash…

        I say this, you give a father the opportunity to have his children 50% of the after a divorce, and moms will have more time now to go find a job that pays them more than what you say is $25k annually.

        Child support laws are archaic at best and should reflect what society is like today, not back in the 60’s and 70’s…

      • Linda, I have no doubt that there are cases like that. Mine is not one.

        First, I get extremely offended about this non-custodial parent connotation. I am a parent, period.

        I expect to be a parent to my kids, in every way. I am not only able to do that, for some reason, I have to go to court and spend thousands upon thousands to try to defend that.

        I pay child support. And beyond. My kids were used as pawns to get more than the allowed child support. I paid it, so I could see my kids a couple of more days a week.

        Linda, this is what a lot of us are seeing.

        As a parent, because that is what we all are, these are some of the constitutional rights I expect:
        1) Make decisions in regards to the up bringing of my children.
        2) Enjoy the companionship of my children.
        3) The right to pursue happiness doing #1 and #2
        4) Provide for my children.

        So far, #1 was taken from me in court. I never agreed to it, and they had no reason to do that.

        #2 is not possible with only every other weekend visits.

        #3 this right is also not possible without our children. We belong to a free country, so we can have kids, and be with them as a family. This was taken away from us with out our consent. Non of us here would agree to not see our kids. Are you saying you would Linda?

        #4 With the financial burden of paying child support, alimony, legal fees, and maintain some kind of life, well providing for our kids the way we would like to is near impossible. My legal fees are over $60K. Not of my choosing. We offered the ex-wife a settlement. $40K in the bank, child support, help buying a house. She declined and told us it would be up to the lawyers. Well, the lawyers took it all, used my kids as paws to get more child support from me, and now when my kids need clothes, or even shoes (which she hardly every buys for them), well I can’t provide for them, or put them in the activities I would like for them to be.

        Linda, all my constitutional rights have been taken away from me.

        Are you saying this is right?

        So you said Mom stayed at home to take care of the kids. Well, in my case, Mom never cleaned the house. and never helped me with my career. I build my career on my own. She stayed at home, yes, because she wanted some idiot like me to pay her way so she didn’t have to work. In fact, I suggested we traded some years. She goes to work, while I stay at home. She was well educated and able to work. I wanted to spend time with the kids.

        Us guys, we go to work, and hardly ever see the kids. Then we get divorced and we see them even less.

        I wanted to see my kids. I wanted to pursue that happiness. So you see Linda. This is all wrong for some if not most of us.

        Stop using the law to take advantage of us. Stop breaking our constitutional rights.

        • Your story is equal to many. IF Child support would be done away with more men would have their kids full time.

    • Absolutely as a presumption.
      If one parent has been proven unfit by a full trial then custody trial would need to take that into consideration.
      If both parents want another parenting arrangement, then child support shifting would occur.

      In either case, it costs the same to raise a child, irrespective of how much the non-custodial earns.

    • I agree with you. This will also eliminate those who have children and uses children for money. But before this can happen, the incentive from TITLE IV-D has to be repealed!

      • IV-D cases in Arizona only take place when…

        1. The custodial parent is on government assistance.
        2. You specifically request DES to handle the case.

        Aside from that, Child support is paid to the Clerk Of The Court instead of DES, yet filters through the Clearinghouse both ways.

    • Interesting. None of you take into account my experience. 22 years of marriage, 4 children 17 and under. Hadn’t worked in 17 years. Didn’t have any education outside of high school. Stayed home with the kids by agreement with husband. According to him, that was my place. I was supposed to get my degree when the kids hit high school, but that was when he decided to leave. He left the children too. How was I supposed to support the children. He had and has had for many years, and still has a job that pays over $100,000 a year. The most I have ever been able to make, and it has taken me 10 years to get there is $30,000 a year. When I had the kids still in the house and under my care, I was making less than $20,000 a year. Child support and spousal support can not be addressed adequately by a cookie cutter type plan.

      • I am sorry your marriage didn’t work out and that you had to deal with financial trouble. I still don’t see your circumstance as his responsibility, aside from basic cost for his half of the kids.

        1. You chose to stay home, you were not forced to stay home.

        2. Once children reach age 5, they spend the day in school, which gives you time to work if you want too. You even have a 17 year old who can help watch the little ones if they get home from school before you get home from work. So you could have had a career if you wanted one.

        3. You got paid for 22 years to stay at home. That sounds like a great deal to me. Yes, there is laundry, cooking and dishes, but they call that retirement. We work the better part of our lives for that luxury. I would loved to have stayed home with my kids when they were little.

        4. Did you put your husband through college? If not, why should he put you through college?

        5. What exactly did you do for 22 years that warranted the benefits of 100k a year? I could hire a nanny and a maid for much less, and stop paying them when they no longer work for me.

        6. Child support certainly can be addressed via a cookie cutter, because the basic cost of a child is the same across the board, minus special needs children. The variable in your calculation is what you want, not what the kids need.

        7. Alimony should be abolished. It is a fine for meeting a gold digger.

        I sincerely hope you get on your feet and find a good career. It is a good feeling to not have to depend on someone else to survive.

        • I agree 1 Million percent Andrew…all valid points…..its called self-responsibility and accountability. Stop looking for a hand-out and be self-reliant….you don’t get “reimbursed” for raising your own kids…and you certainly shouldn’t get a payday because a relationship ended.

    • Great words of wisdom, Pastor, my thoughts exactly.

      I usually refer to lawyers as “conscienceless mercenaries of greed”.

  3. Easy divorce is the problem. Maybe these people need to work and keeping a marriage together.

    • It’s not easy divorce that’s the driver but the rewards. For the spouse seeking the caretaker role, they profit from the current construct (at least it appears so going into the divorce). They get state mandated funding provided no-strings attached from someone they now dislike. Free money is their reward and 2/3 of divorces are initiated by them.

      • I have been paying alimony and child support to my exwife since 2003. She filed for divorce because she decided to be with the father of my now adopted son. I was working two jobs to support my family. When I went before a judge I was under the impression that I would receive fair justice. Boy was I wrong. Now I find myself in the situation that if I am as much as one day late, I am fined as much as an extra $1,000 and also my ex-wife’s lawyer gets $1,200 for a few phone calls and for the paper work. Been sent to jail for being 8 hours late. Not a bad deal for an unwed mother who was eating with food stamps when I met her.

        • No, because he is obviously motivated to do something with his life instead of depending on others. Welfare is designed to help people in unfortunate situations get back on their feet, not to live off of forever (except in a small handful of circumstances). People take advantage of the State, and in Family Court, they pass off those costs at a much higher rate than welfare, to other people who no longer have a tie to the lazy person who cannot support themselves.

          I was homeless in my late teens for a while. I have since put myself through college, support two kids, take vacations, etc, and I never once used any help from the State or took advantage of others, because I do not have the, “Poor me, the world owes me” mentality.

        • Come on Linda….I sure was right there.

          I was NOT going to ruin the father of my children for a buck unlike many women who do because they believe they deserve justice from such an awful man. He wasn’t that bad when the mom decided to have sex and make a baby was he?

    • Ronald K….. is right on. This is the fundamental problem in Family Law. It’s to easy filing for divorce thus creating a situation for conflict, chaos, and easy money for those working within the legal business. Whatever spouse files for divorce as long as there is no abuse involved, they receive the brunt of any consequences that occur once entrapped by the system. Child support for instance starts at 50/50 and if the spouse who files for divorce is not working they must get a job in supporting their 50 % of child support. Another option is if a person that wants to get divorced because they are say “bored” with their spouse should be penalized for not trying to make the marriage work. In other words you want out of the marriage.. you leave with nothing.. and have a good day…

  4. If a parent is unable to obtain a full-time job and makes minimum wage no matter how much they try and get full-time employment and are unable to make their monthly obligations when the other parents makes over $180,000 and places a financial burden on the parent that is now forced into paying child support it needs to be reduced where the parent being forced, after the other parent outran child support for 10 months and I only got child support for 2 months. I should not have to be forced into paying 50% of my wages to my son’s father who will only use the money for his drugs and alcohol abuse along with his adult pleasures (he admitted to paying for prostitutes) So it needs to be a percentage

    • If your ex-husband is an alcoholic, drug abusing, prostitute chasing individual, he should not have enough custody of your children for you to owe him any support. You should have full custody of your son and his father should be paying you support. IF that hasn’t happened, either you haven’t pursued it hard enough, you had a bad attorney, you are getting screwed by the judicial system, or your ex-husband isn’t all of the things you allege.

  5. I was torn over this.
    I voted percentage BUT there must be some variables

    This wouldn’t be an issue if C560 is passed
    Canada is trying for the 3rd time to implement Bill C560
    In every separation or divorce 50/50 custody is automatic
    Unless there is proven abuse
    What I would like to see is harsher penalties for false EPOs and false allegations of abuse.

  6. I don’t think it should be either. The amount should determined in private by the families. It’s precisely this either or approach to problem solving that represents what is so very wrong with divorce court. As a private non-attorney, I’ve yet to have clients who couldn’t craft their own agreement regarding child support. My clients negotiate based on their unique needs and give maybe more and sometimes less than the courts MIGHT suggest. However, they decide honestly and privately, in the best interest of their child(re) and each other, what the necessary amount of child support should be. Thank you

    • Your clients can craft their own agreements because they are speaking to one another. We handled a number of cases in which one parent was severely narcissistic. These people cannot see anyone else’s point of view, needs, cannot understand their feelings, and do not ever “play well with others”. They only agree to things that clearly benefit them. We handled other cases in which one parent did not trust the other to use the support for the children, and therefore did not want to pay support. Still other cases involved at least one party who had no confidence to make decisions about this on his/her own. This is when the attorneys are needed, and we need to pass legislation to limit the courts’ indulgence with attorneys who milk the system. Too many are pals with or actually are threatening toward the judges, and this is where the really tilted scales of “justice” occur. If there was oversight of the courts that was truly effective, lawyers could not get away with some of the incredibly crooked things I have seen them do, and far less people (and so many of these are children) would be hurt as a result of divorce.

      • Dear Linda:

        Yes, you are correct and your post here unfortunately really speaks more to the reality of many situations.

        I am a Collaborative Divorce attorney and stay out of court as much as possible. I do not think the legal system is at all equipped to handle family matters. We all have to stop making divorce a four-letter word and stop shaming people when their marriages fail.

        In my opinion, the very best solution is to take an honest look at both parents’ incomes and both parents’ necessary living budgets so that you can arrive at an amount of support that is not a hardship for either parent. This should be on a case-by-case situtation and can be handled very easily in a Collaborative Divorce case.

        We should NEVER set parents up as adversaries in the first place and we should never attach the amount of time parents spend with their children to the amount of support that must be paid. That is the biggest problem with the system. There are numerous creative ways of making sure children are supported in both parents’ households that have absolutely nothing to do with the “formula” established by laws. Predicating child support on how much time each parent has with children puts the children directly in a tug of war between their parents and that situation should be avoided at all costs.

        Also, the children should not have to eat noodles at one parent’s home and surf ‘n’ turf at the other parent’s home. The children are the ones who are hurt when they see that one parent is impoverished, while the other lives comfortably. This is a very important consideration for parents when redistributing income at the time of divorce.

        • Although your comments seem very wise on the surface, putting it to work in real life situations is far more difficult. For the court to determine the level of child support needed to maintain the standard of living is very time consuming, difficult and expensive. This concept additionally often leads to constant ongoing court battles to review. This concept also does not address the parent who does not spend the allocated child support on the child. Both parents have the children and both parents should be responsible for the costs. The courts and the way they treat the families does far more damage to the children, than if they have to eat noodles at one home and get surf & turf at the other.

        • That is easier said than done. during my divorce process I told the judge “your honor, I cannot afford to live on what you are asking me to pay”. His response was…”This isnt about you, this is about family”. Yet all i wanted was 50/50 custody but my ex wife “lost” her job right before court proceedings and was partying every weekend.

          The system is severely broken and courts need to acknowledge PAS as a real issue. I see my son 8 days a month and the other 22 days the ex wife doesnt let me talk to him. I am a great father to my son and all i want to do is be in his life. However the ex just wants the money and knows she has the advantage in court.. So sad.

        • When did eating noodles mean a kid is impoverished? I think it would be great if kids all had successful parents. That decision is up to the parents on if they want to work to be successful or not. Why should parent A pick up the slack for parent B? They are not married anymore. It would be nice of parent A to share more for the benefit of their kid, but this is a moral issue, and should not be a legal issue. It would be even nicer if parent B earned their own way and made a better life for themselves and their children.
          The way it is today, we punish success and we reward laziness. I love my kids, and as long as I have a job, I will always provide for them the best I can, regardless of the amount I am supposed to pay, and this extends beyond them turning 18. It would be nice if I only had to pay the basic minimum, so I could spend the rest on them the way I want to instead of supporting Mom. Mom lives in a pretty nice house, I live in a mobile home, and will continue to live here until support ends in two years. My Son eats noodles here, but I fund the surf & turf at Mom’s house.

      • In response to your post about the different clients who don’t or cannot get along. I am here to tell you that it can be done.

        I have handled narcissists in Collaborative Divorce cases; I have handled Collaborative Divorce cases where neither person trusts the other; I have handled Collaborative Divorce cases where there was extreme bitterness about infidelity; I have had Collaborative Divorce cases where one person was actually spying on the other.

        Yes, they can still come to the table and negotiate with one another, they can still learn to communicate and yes, they can co-parent. In a Collaborative Divorce case, the two spouses craft their own settlement, the attorneys mind the process and work as facilitators.

        We do NOT raise the level of animonsity in these cases. Instead, we recognize and help normalize the very emotional upheaval going on for both people who are going through the divorce.

        First of all, we are all products of the way our brain is wired to handle trauma, stress, and conflict. We are pre-programmed as primitive beings to a “fight or flight” response. Can you imagine a cave man sitting down to think about how he might respond when confronted with a bear? No time – fight or flight. We are still the same creatures, but have different threats to our well-being. When hurt or scared – we still have a fight or flight response. This is what happens to people going through divorce. They are NOT themselves. They are terrified about their future income, property, children, roles, lives, etc. They want to fight, their friends tell them to fight, their attorneys help them fight.

        In a Collaborative Divorce, divorce coaches (mental health professionals) work with each client at this stage to help people understand what they are feeling and what their spouse is feeling and help deal with it, normalize it, and help them learn to HEAR each other. To recognize that they are often filling in the blanks incorrectly about what the other spouse is thinking or saying. The divorce coaches help them transition from the married relationship to co-parenting relationship and teach them ways to handle conflict and disagreements in the future.

        The legal system DOES NOT DO THIS and even if both parents are in counseling, they are NOT working together to get through the divorce. Their individual therapists often serve as another person “on their side” against the “other side.” Divorce coaches help each person see the other person’s perspective. Nothing could be more important when going through divorce.

        Lawyers never help their clients normalize their feelings or understand them. Lawyers, instead, have the ability to take the normal hurt, anger, grief, humiliation, fear and all of the other emotions that bubble up during divorce and use them to stir up more animosity. Even if lawyers do not try to do this, the system makes them do it because they fear that otherwise, they are not properly or zealously representing their client, especially when attacked from the other side.

        All it takes is one spouse or one attorney out of the four to spin the case out of control and get it off to the races – the case then ends up taking on a life of its own. This is very sad and destructive and mostly devastating for children because now they have two parents who cannot even look at each other.

        • So how can we combat lawyers like these? None of these lawyers care about the children, all they care about is winning the case. “Being fair” does not exist in court. My son is growing up with no parents because my ex wife doesnt spend any time with him and she doesnt want to do 50/50 because she will lose out on the child support money.

        • Smith, you nailed it, this is exactly what happens.

          I have asked for 3 years for a co-parenting therapist to mediate the divorce issues because I feel the are the best prepared.

          Instead, I got judges and lawyers who only care about bullying you, pushing things down your throat, and pay thousands of dollars. Not one has tried to identify the issues (financial, emotional, parental alienation) and I don’t even think they know about them.

  7. child support should depend upon the time with each parent and both parents’ incomes. In most cases, child sharing should be 50/50 between the parents and each parent should support the child when they are in possession of the child, except perhaps for out of house costs like medical and education, depending upon the relative incomes of the parents up to a reasonable limit. Normal child support is a subsidy to the custodial parent, because it helps pay their cost of living as well, making the child support the custodial parent through the money meant for the child.

    • The support is unregulated, so there is no law in place that says the child even sees a penny of the money.

      What is a reasonable limit? Do you trust legislatures to make that decision for you? I don’t.

      Why do incomes matter? Doesn’t the basic costs of a child remain the same regardless of income? There is nothing to say that a parent can’t spend more on their child than just the basic needs. In fact, that is the purpose of the flat rate. It allows the non-custodial parent the ability to spend THEIR money on their child the way they want too, just like married parents do.

      I’ll swing over to your side as long as you support putting married parents in jail if they don’t spend the same, “reasonable” amount of money on their kids. How about some Equal Protection under The Law?

  8. I am trying to think logically and in terms of economics as well. Sadly, whether someone owns a lucrative business or is employed by a company, we are all subject to the economy. If it is fixed then it may become a hardship during rough times. This needs to be a consideration!

    • Arizona, and likely your State, calculates support based on a formula. The formula is reviewed and altered when necessary by a child support board every 4 years. The board is made up of judges, lawyers, custodial and non-custodial parents.

      If we had a flat rate, we could still have a board to review the amount as it relates to inflation every year, 4 years, or whenever.

      I think you have the hardship backwards. In our State, support amounts have never been lowered, they only stay the same or go up. I am a custodial and a non-custodial parent. If I get laid off from work tomorrow, I will still be expected to pay my $700 a month for my child, because I have proven the ability to do so. When I don’t find a job that pays as well, I get behind and I eventually lose my license and go to jail after falling $5,000 behind. The money I am supposed to get for the child I have 100% of the time is $50 a month. Mom doesn’t pay, and owes around $1,000 right now (after I legally forgave her previous $900 debt with DES). At this rate, if I lost my job tomorrow, I would hit the $5,000 in about 7 months of non-payment. My other child’s Mom won’t hit the $5,000 limit for another 6.5 years. So I’m in jail, where does my kid go? Yep, with Mom. Now I will have to pay support on both kids at a high income rate for a job I don’t have, from jail.

      I am terrified of losing my job, because it means I lose my kid and I go to jail, game over. How is that for hardship? If there is a flat basic rate, I have nothing to fear. I could find a job at McDonald’s and make my payments until a better job came along.

  9. – When kids are in foster care, the state pays the parents a fixed amount for their basic needs.
    – When kids are in primary custodial care, the obligor pays what the state has determined to be basic needs PLUS mandatory “lifestyle costs” (not discretionary to the parents)
    – When kids are in their married parents care the state assures the parents pay what the state has determined to be basic needs period. “Lifestyle costs” are purely discretionary.

    Class Prejudice: The states are prejudice by forcing one class of people (divorced parents) to pay mandatory “lifestyle costs” while not doing the same with married parents. Just imagine if the state overreached into the homes of intact families and required certain spending based on their determination of “lifestyle”?!?! Why is it ok for divorced families?

  10. This is not simply answered by selecting Fixed or Percentage – there are many factors. The issue is there are essentially no rules – as the rules that do exist are completely ignored by many judges. They pick numbers that make no sense and have no reality.

    There is no way a judge can sit and dictate what a child’s LIFESTYLE will be simply defined by money. The fact that often there are HUGE disparity between incomes following a divorce does create a situation where some consideration must be made. But for starters – they must add some form of ACCOUNTABILITY for how the money is used by the person that receives child support. Second – it can be pretty well determined what it costs to raise a child in a particular set of circumstances – that should be the base for any child support, not some subjective perception of what their LIFESTYLE use to be. In the case of 50/50 split parenting there should be an absolute minimum of support. As long as custody determines money allocation it will always be a tool for manipulation (someone gaming the system to gain some kind of advantage).

    As long as MONEY is used as the primary tool for managing and rating everything about a child, decisions will never be done “in the best interest of the child” — it is pure setup for failure. I don’t know what kind of fantasy thinking both the courts and divorcing people use that allows them to actually believe, you can break 1 household into 2, then add in a bunch of new additional overhead cost (for the courts, attorneys and parasite professionals) and expect everyone’s lifestyle to return back to what it was — that truly is a form of insane thinking itself.

  11. There should be no child support, nor alimony. Parents should have 50/50 shared time as well as financial responsibility. When the children are with mom, mom has the financial responsibility and vice versa when dad has the children. By doing this, much of the family Court battles will be put to rest and the lawyers less able to steal money from the children’s needs as well.
    I agree with Paster Paul Waldmiller. 50/50 custody.

  12. Money is truly the root of all, of ALL EVIL! Typically, unless there are some extenuating circumstances, children are not that expensive to take care of. Extra food at the grocery store, health insurance rates are typically low, children’s clothing is not that expensive, and having your child with you is a right as well as a privilege. No child is born evil! They become products of their environment. And the environment that our current Family Law system is creating is horrible for children. It needs to change. I say, follow the Iceland Model. http://en.island.is/family/marriage_and_partners/custody_of_children_and-visiting_rights/

  13. This is not black and white. When one parent (who makes literally four or five times the other) splits 50/50 time, the children suffer that financial gap. Pretending that a mother or father who has sacrificed promotions, networking, and 401ks to raise their children are “equal” is an absolute falsehood. So when the financial burden is split 50/50 the result is that one parent must decide between the gas bill and new shoes for the kids, while the other decides between another 5 star restaurant or plane tickets to a vacation home. “Child support” is just that. A child shouldn’t have to live in poverty at one house and extravagantly at another. Which is why it ends when a child reaches adulthood.

    • It is black and white. Did you choose not to have a career? Of course,that is why it is black and white. YOU made a choice, YOU need to live with it, not put your responsibility off on someone else who was willing to put in the hard work to make a comfortable life.

      If your child suffers because YOU are poor, maybe YOU should do something to fix that. A flat rate would ensure your child has clothes and food. If YOU can’t juggle a kid and a career, then why not let the kid live with Dad more often so YOU can work on getting your life where YOU feel it needs to be, without depending on handouts.

      Please don’t tell me me what hard work it is to be a good parent. I have done it alone myself, and I have the 401k and went to college when I could. It took me 10 years to get my degree as a single primary custodial parent, but I got it.If your husband has a good job, good for him. It means he worked hard to get where he is. That is an admirable quality.

      I do not mean to be hurtful with my comment, as I hope you do get your 401k and enjoy a wonderful comfortable happy life with your kids. I just don’t know how to be anything but blunt when it comes to the, “Give me give me” mentality. It scares me that I may run into someone like you in the dating world. What happened to loving someone for who they are instead of what they can give you?

    • Not well said at all….you mentioned a child shouldn’t have to live in poverty at one house and extravagantly at the other….well, what exactly do you think happens when child support is taken? its a transference of wealth….so ok, instead of the non-custodial parent having his/her own income that THEY work for, you some how think YOU are entitled to it simply because you have the kids? and then what happens? now YOU live the extravagant lifestyle while the non-custodial parent now struggles to survive for the next 20yrs in the very same poverty you speak of…..but I guess its ok as long as YOU aren’t the one in poverty, right?

      The missing part of that equation is YOU getting up and earning more to supplement what you feel your child/ren should have, not cry victim and force money out of someone else’s pockets simply because you feel you are entitled. No one is entitled to someone else’s income, ever…that’s called slavery….and kinda thought we were all done with that, no?

      • I agree.
        But why the need to have laws on divorce, custody, child support, etc? People should be able to work out their problems. There is no universal formula, every situation is different. Are we so primitive that we need a law for everything? This is an abuse and it opens the door to slavery. In this century…we are indeed stupid for allowing this to happen. Children would not want to ruin anyone, and yet they do it. Women, not very smart to put this on their shoulders. A child should be a bless, not a curse. Sad.

  14. Until there is no such thing as a stay-at-home mom, child support will never be abolished. It is designed to maintain, in the best possible way, the lifestyle to which the child has been accustomed. It is pretty near impossible for a woman who hasn’t held a paying job for 20 years to run out and command even a modicum of her ex’s salary. Throw in the current president (59% disapproval rating, BTW) with high unemployment, and those women are looking at welfare and food stamps. So I see the validity of the question but don’t believe it fits the disparities in today’s American families.

    This is a near perfect teaching scenario for mothers of young girls … don’t ever, ever quit your day job.

    When both parents work, and are able and willing to work, then I agree, it should be 50-50 or maybe even not at all. But all too often, the wife gives up all earning power to focus on the kids and support the husband. And all too often, the hate he has for the wife far outweighs the love he might have for the children. Let’s not slam the kids any more than has already been done.

    I vote for percentage or formula, as it’s done now. But it doesn’t matter; the judges in Georgia quite often pick a number out of the air and the appellate court upholds that utterly criminal decision.

    • “It is pretty near impossible for a woman who hasn’t held a paying job for 20 years to run out and command even a modicum of her ex’s salary”
      This is an argument for Alimony not child support. And it only makes sense if the husband is at fault for the breakup of the family by filing or by wrong doing. Anyone who chooses to divorce without grounds should not be allowed to sue for alimony or child custody. Whatever, disparity they may face should not lessened by adding disparity on the family they broke apart.

      “Throw in the current president (59% disapproval rating, BTW) with high unemployment, and those women are looking at welfare and food stamps.”

      The government cannot transfer its welfare obligation to an individual. One person’s needs do not obligate another person to fill those needs at the expense of their own hardship. When on welfare a person is strongly encouraged to seek employment and given help to do so. This does not happen when the support comes from the ex-spouse. Furthermore, many men are unable to support themselves after having to pay alimony and child support. They can’t get government aid because they make too much before paying support.

    • It is impossible to maintain “the lifestyle to which the child has been accustomed” after their parents’ divorce. When the state tries it only hurts the family more. Furthermore, if money is what it takes to minimize the impact on the child’s lifestyle then custody, the family home and all the assets should be given to the wage earner. The financial impact on the child is at its least when the spouse, that earns nothing, leaves with nothing.

      What a child needs is their parents, working together, to decide what is best for them not the state. The state should not be focused on protect a lifestyle but, on protecting the rights of the parents to decide what is best. Forcing one parent to support two households often leaves both parents in a state of poverty. This does not benefit the child.

      The state should let the parents worry about their kids. If the parents can’t agree then the court should only have two considerations for deciding custody. The first is whether or not one or both parents are fit to parent, and the second is who is at fault for the demise of the family. A decision base on anything else can only be bias. By the way, there is no such thing as a no-fault divorce. The one that files must be the one who is held responsible.

      Another issue here is that most mothers, today, work and support their spouse and children. Giving up “all earning power” therefore is a choice not a necessity or a sacrifice. Very often kids spend the majority of their day at school. Many fathers work and still spend more time with the children than their stay at home wives.

      A final note: children grow up and get married. It is not ease for a mother to see their adult child lose everything they have and spend the rest of their life in working poverty simple because, their spouse wants out of their marriage vows.

  15. The business of Government is business and it doesn’t seems to matter who they extort theirs citizens or so call terrorists.

  16. Didn’t anyone pay attention to the movie?? Child support should be as in Scandinavia…. fixed amount only enough(about $150) a month to actually support the child. NOT for the ex to mask as alimony! I totally agree with how they do it and I wish we could change it to be the same way. And for the writer who commented on easy divorce being the problem? There is nothing easy about a divorce when it comes to greedy ex spouses, alienating parents, lawyers and corrupt judges. If it were easy it wouldn’t be supporting a 50 billion dollar a year industry. Spread the word and spread the movie. Educate as many as you can.

    • Thank you R Sant = we appreciate you highlighting one of the key points made in the movie. As for easy divorce, it could not be easier than just filling out a form, as in Scandinavia. Yet the Scandinavians have a much lower divorce rate (divorces per 1000 marriages) than the United States. So much for our country making divorce difficult – it doesn’t work and it destroys people’s lives.

  17. The poll cannot be answered. This will be a one sided perspective. If working women want to be treated equally, then they take responsibility for their actions. The fact is that this is nothing more than a way for them to get pregnant and have men pay their way through life. We need to stop rewarding women for being lying, manipulating, no good witches.

      • Spousal support was designed to compensate parents for the pain of childbirth? Please direct me to where you found this information.

  18. I believe that there should be a fixed amount. No person on this planet can tell me that just because you make more money, it costs more to raise the children. I think this is a dream for the liberals to give away money and reward lazy former spouses that want to lay on their asses to do nothing.

    • Social science says different. Numerous empirical studies have demonstrated a correlation between income and standard of living. Only an extreme minority spend a fixed amount regardless of income. Retailers are aptly aware of this and target consumers for extra spending around this time of year when tax refunds are arriving.

      • Do these “studies” take into account voluntary spending in correlation to income and standards of living? I think your “studies” would drastically change if that were the case….because, sure…if I earn a decent living and have access to my kids, theres no limit to what I would spend…but its very different when i’m being FORCED and my money TAKEN from me in some unqualified attempt to provide what someone ELSE decided is a “reasonable lifestyle” for my kids…leaving me with NO options on how, where and when to spend MY own money…and all based on the premise of a child’s necessity?? …No, there is a very big difference in what you purport, if i’m obligated to pay the child’s needs….then that’s a very different thing than when I CHOOSE to spend more on my child….and THATS the correlation you are speaking of….its voluntary, the key component your “studies” neglect to incorporate.

  19. I voted for a percentage. However, when the parent who has to pay the support has a large income, child support becomes ridiculous, and actually supports the parent as well – there should be a percentage, but also a limit, calculated on the specific child’s needs (e.g. a child with special needs may need more in child support).

  20. Court ordered child support payment schemes should reflect the common law duty to provide support for children. In two parent families resources dedicated to the children reflect neither a fixed amount nor a percentage of income. Replicating that through a public policy model is a difficult task. The most common attempt is the income shares model which generally provide that around 17-22% of a parents’ earnings are used in support of the children. This model accounts for wage discrepancies to provide continuity between households in support provided to the children. Thus if parents have 50/50 parenting time but widely disparate incomes or resources then a transfer of funds from one to the other is appropriate. Built into the payment scheme for primary providers is what I call the “nanny-factor” which is payment beyond the actual cost of support for the child and includes an opportunity costs factor – basically paying the custodial parent for doing all the shopping and other incidentals of providing primary care. In my state I have proposed that the “nanny-factor” only be applied in cases of abandonment but where a parent seeks primary physical custody then that is presumed to be a voluntary acceptance of that responsibility and no opportunity costs will be provided.

  21. I didn’t vote because it’s already based upon a variety of factors. The 50/50 is the best if the parents can put aside their anger for the sake of the children, but that is probably rare. Let’s be truthful though…Friend of the Court is just that..friend of the Courts, and Lawyers, and FOC employees who have job security because the Lawyers are just generating “Billable Hours” with other peoples misery.

  22. What is the extra cost to raise a child in a well-to-do household? It is private school, lessons, and summer camp. The better earning parent can pay for this directly and even entirely, without funneling the money through the lesser financially successful parent. Does paying for these frills directly harm the less financially successful parent? The lesser earning parent still has the pleasure of the child’s presence.
    As for maintaining the parent’s former lifestyle – there is less money to go around and money does not grow on trees. Be realistic. The ex-spouse is legally free to go seek out another partner to cohabit with and support the house or to put more effort into work on non-parenting time days to get ahead in the workplace.
    But then, what are we all going to do about the enormous liability of insufficiently funded judges’ pensions? Without the Federal Matching funds from exaggerated child support obligations – how will judges be able to collect $100,000 lifetime pensions after as little as half a dozen years of judging?

  23. Percentage based child support awards creates a wind fall for the custodial parent and creates an incentive to divorce. As with anything else if you pay someone to engage in a given activity they will.

    The below study by the U of ND illustrates this:


    Another take away from the study is that the 17% for a single child is based upon the percentage of income for a family at the poverty line. As family income grows a smaller percentage is spent on children. Child support calculations, if percentage based, should reduce that percent as the income scales up and ultimately cap it.

    The current methodology results in hidden alimony for the custodial parent and creates an incentive to dissolve the family unit.

  24. Since there are no laws requiring married parents to provide for more than the basic needs of their children then, divorce parents should not be required to provide more. A child’s needs are what they are regardless of their parents’ income or lack of. The monetary cost of those needs should be divided equally between the parents regardless of differences in incomes.

    Basic child care needs should be determined by direct data on cost of food, clothing, and the increase in utilities cost due to the child. Housing should not be included because both parents must provide housing for the child in separate households.

    The time each parent spends providing for the child should be considered. If the time is divided 50/50 then the support should be zero. If the time is split 60/40 then support should be set at 10% of the basic needs. If a parent spends no time caring for the child then support would be 50% of the basic needs. In this way, each parent is held equally accountable financially for the child.

    • Ditto, I think that is 100 percent fair across the board…a set amount based on exactly what the needs are, zero support if custody is 50/50…which should be the standard anyway….and the rest is self explanatory…..basic and simple….even if you want nothing to do with the child, you pay your HALF of the SET amount of needs is, so its not a lottery winning jackpot for the custodial parent….which will drastically reduce litigation and a number of vengeful custodial parents.

  25. Two factors have not been considered in most of the responses above: (1) accountability (is the child support used to pay hair salons for haircuts, manicures, and pedicures, etc,), (2) how many men must also pay for the guardian ad litem fees, for the wife’s attorney’s fees, for his own attorney’s fees, for visitation fees if supervised visitation is ordered, for health insurance, for an apartment with an extra bedroom for the child who visits every other weekend, for his expenses when the child is with him. A man’s court-ordered expenses are almost never included when figuring out what the man’s financial obligations are. Some men must also pay the mortgage on the family even though the wife is given 70 percent of it,

    I’ve seen the wife’s new boyfriend pay for a new roof and then the wife seeks the husband to pay the wife what the boyfriend has paid. I’ve seen a judge put a $250,000 lien on the husband’s 30 percent just in case he defaults in the future.

    This question is quite complicated and cannot be answered when judicial orders are not made in accordance with the law or are simply illegal. Extensive reform is required.

    The best interests of the child is undefined. Clear and convincing evidence is required. It almost never is. Improper evidence or the absence of evidence leads to tragic consequences.

  26. This is the first poll I can’t vote on because neither option should be valid. There should be no child support. Each parent should be allowed to live with their own child in the manner to which their own income allows. When married there are no guarantees that the child will be supported in a certain life style. Therefore child support promotes forced labor, which is not allowed in this country. Also when women become dependent on this unearned income they become oppressed. They are then unable to live freely to find their own capabilities and learn to live as independently as they choose. Child support therefore holds women back from reaching their full potential. As we have learned from the current family court system, money is at the root of all fights and the children are then turned into weapons. Ladies you should refuse to accept child support if you truly want equal rights.

  27. What is costs to “support” a child is completely subjective. Besides shelter, food and clothing, what do kids really need? They need all these vicious, warring parents and attorneys to take a big pause. Courts discourage collaboration and encourage winning money. Incomes change constantly over time, which then guarantees courts the business of constantly recalculating support.

    It’s also optimistic to think divorcing people can collaborate and work this out. Most often they hate each other, and this is about revenge. Adults need to be grown-ups: move on as if your spouse is dead, and learn to support yourself and your children. If you make more than your former spouse, pay for more when it comes to the kids; don’t scrimp. And by all means, stop paying the attorneys and save it for your kids!

  28. The Child support model and policy is predetermined to have the following affects on the family that is subject to it.

    One: Turn over the entire assets and potential assets of the family to management and dissolution.

    Two: Encourage infighting and conditions where the issue of children is defocused and based primarily on the winning factor. Where the truth is no such thing exists, the model only allows 14% of parental time for the losing deadbeat or new type of parent who has no rights and now officially called the non parent. Any deviation opens up the way for cockroaches and worms to do their very best to make sure the policy outcome and court determination always prevails..

    Three: To encourage inequality and gender conflict defocusing the actual target goal of the judiciary or Judge with unlimited powers of coercion by describing it into some form of law.

    Four: Zero accountability.

    Five: Encourage less autonomy between the parties, higher dependencies and more importantly less likelihood that new children will be produced by newly formed relationships.

    Six: Impoverishment and less productivity from the losing party.

    Seven: A very expensive Welfare and population reform model that is mangaed by the state commisions and legislative bodies.

    Eight: The rise of the expert class of confusing opinions and/or financial intruments that cost the taxpayers the difference by diverting resources and former private wealth into state and private agency operations with the same purpose.

    Nine: Less people choosing to have children.

    Ten: The need to warehouse females and divert their natural interests into state productive programs to offset the difference.

    Eleven: A thousand fold increase into social problems, prison populations and a voting franchise that no longer functions to serve the people but the state by federal incentives.

  29. Neither works, as the income-producing spouse can fraudulently claim unemployment or mental anguish during separation and bring a high six-figure income to zero within months, and geographic differences in cost of living in the USA make a flat payment unworkable as, e.g., child support of $1200/month in San Diego is ridiculous when rent can be $5K and that amount in, say, Detroit, wouldn’t make sense either. Yes, I speak from experience with all these examples.

    • The discovery process looks at W2s and recent pay stubs to establish income.In AZ, the earner is held to their earning potential, not how much they make. The court takes their highest wage and uses that. If someone quits their job for a lower paying job, the court makes them pay the higher amount. In many cases, even if someone is laid off from work and cannot instantly find a job that pays as much, they are still expected to pay the high support amount.

      Food and clothing cost pretty much the same everywhere in the US. You are right, housing is a different story. Why should housing be part of the calculation? If the parents have houses or apartments, then the kid has a roof over their head. Letting your kid live under your roof does not add cost to your mortgage/rent or your air-conditioning/heating bills. Yes, slightly more electricity and water is used as people are added, which is true in both homes. If you are saying there is an increased cost for a bigger place so the child can have their own room. then that would be your choice to provide it. It should not be mandatory, just like it isn’t mandatory for married parents to provide a separate room for their kids if they can’t afford it or just don’t want to spend their money that way.

  30. I could not vote, either. I believe in 50/50 Shared Parenting , which should negate Child Support. If the children are splitting the time between households then each parent provides for their household. That includes clothing bedrooms, etc. etc. School, Medical, extra curricular expenses should be split!

  31. Every parent has the moral obligation to support their children. Just as having children, child support should be a personal decision and it should be completely eliminated in Family Courts. It started as a great cause but times has changed: women knows where children comes from at younger age, there are many contraceptives in the market, women can go to work, and at the end it is each personal decision of having a child. The reason I said women is because, unfortunately for men, women has the last said so when it comes to having a child: no man can force a women to have an abortion if the child is unwanted by the father and a woman can freely chose to have an abortion if the father of the child disagree.

    Child support should be a personal decision based on what each parent can/want to provide for their child. If a parent is fighting for custody is because that parent can financially provide for the child, not to live on the other parent. As society we trend to condemn the one who is successful (or the one who actually produce) in order to praise the one who does not produce. Being a stay at home mom/dad is a personal decision too. Also, alimony and child tax credit should be eliminated as well. Let’s face it, children uses taxpayer’s money to go to public schools.

    My experience with child support as a child has been a negative one. My custodial parent used me as a “spy” to spy on my non-custodial parent during visitations. If my non-custodial parent buys a car for example, my custodial parent is at the court house basically the very next day. I did not know I was doing wrong until it was too late: my non-custodial parent decided to end up the BS by moving on. I lost a lot from my non-custodial parent, but I completely understand the decision as an adult.

    Child support should be a personal decision of each parent, not the government.

  32. Court ordered child support should be deducted pre-tax from the payor’s check and the income tax should be paid bt the parent who is receiving it. I always found it unfair that one parent is receiving support tax-free plus usually also claiming the kids to get a huge refund.

  33. Why should the person paying the child support have to pay tax on that money? If the money is going to the custodial parent, that is their income!

  34. In New Zealand child support is calculated on a percentage of the income left over after living costs for the paying parent are removed.
    For two children this is 24% of the left over income after removing the living costs. This is not a bad system in case of a non-working parent it is not overly fair when the custodial parent works and/or is married to someone who has a lot of money. As of the 1st April next year the rules are changing to incorporate the earnings of the custodial parent as well.
    Maybe the US should start using that system instead of gauging as much money off non-custodial parents. Will make the system more fair and stop the ridiculous settlements that only advantage the lawyers and not the CHILDREN which is what it should be all about!

  35. I think for the most part courts should not handle child support. Each parent should take financial responsibility and share parenting time. if a parent is found to be derelict in their duty to parent and support their child then the court may step in. It can also be a temporary measure during and for a period of time when divorcing while a parent gets back on their feet financially if they were a stay at home parent.

  36. The current system of court awarded alimony, child support or whatever creates an entitlement mentality. It hurts everyone. The receiver of monies feels no gratitude for what they receive, they feel entitled to it. The giver doesn’t have any good feelings about working to support others. It is just a bad situation all around. The judges “award” alimony and child support but in reality it is not an award, it is a “taking”. The court, or the government, depending on how you look at it, takes from one individual and gives to another. The obligations placed on individuals by the court are obligations that were never a part of the marriage contract, but were made up by lawyers through the years.
    Many have tried to skirt around the unfair divorce laws with prenuptial agreements, but even those agreements are voided by the courts after a few years. Now our children don’t even want to get married and don’t want to have children because of the horror stories coming out of our court systems. Court ordered child support should never be more than half of what it costs to feed and clothe a child, and it should be the same for every child, regardless of how wealthy the parents are. There should be no alimony at all. In every other legal contract there is a phrase, “caveat emptor”: let the buyer beware. If you marry someone, and it doesn’t work out, then tough luck. Go back to doing what you were before you got married.

  37. A 9-year divorce and a 10-year fight for custody of my two children has given me unique insight into a flawed system. The family court system (at least in Calif.) encourages litigation. This very attitude flies in the face of the usual rhetoric of, “what’s in the best interest of the children”. A 10-year custody battle is NEVER in the best interest of ANY child, (abuse/neglect factors not withstanding). My ex-wife and her boyfriend had the financial wherewithal to outspend me in my attempts to gain 50/50 custody. The court has no mechanisms in place to prevent such a strategy from being used. Logic dictates once the children are of school age, there should be NO excuses for each parent to become independent and self-reliant. A monetary stipend to balance disparity of monthly income may be appropriate, but only for a SET period of time. If one parent is allowed to use the other parent for a revenue stream, be it alimony or child support, the litigation will NEVER end. The old laws need to be updated to reflect the contemporary family, with an unambiguous set of rules (i.e. 50/50 time share as the foundation for custody). This would eliminate the myriad of excuses available to a person as to why their former spouse should pay them more money so they can sit at home and do nothing.

  38. I think the best solution is where the children stay in their homes, neighborhoods and schools and let the parents split their time 50/50 in living in the house being a parent for their children. Why should the kids disrupt their lives because two adults decide they no longer want to live together?

  39. My ex made an extraordinary salary. We lived a very enriched life. When he lost interest in me and met a new young babe, he was without guilt about moving on. His new “love interest” had never had children and persuaded him that he was way too generous with his children and with our lifestyle. She convinced him that he wanted to spend the rest of his high earning years creating a their life together without the constriction of paying for his children’s education or any support for his observantly inferior wife’s existence.

    No matter that we sent all of our children to collage prep high schools where they worked hard with expectations of going to good colleges. No matter that he talked our daughter out of accepting a scholarship at a “good school” because she got into a really prestigious school that he wanted to have “bragging rights” about and agreed to pay the tuition….only to bail out because he hooked up with someone who had no interest in seeing his kids get the education they deserve. My ex was
    “falling in lust” as we were divorcing so he let his” pleasure meter” over-ride his” moral meter.” He had plenty of money to spend on his litigation objectives while I had virtually none because he was able to choke off the money by using a very expensive shark ($1000.00 an hour) He made me feel like an idiot because he so easily disconnected from a 26 year marriage and 3 really dynamic kids for
    a new” sexual high.”
    What are the courts protecting here? Wives, children and even the family pets, have had a life history and when you just disconnect people’s lives for a flimsy sexual fantasy, is that really fair? The court’s bend over backward’s to honor the desire for a new life and the “right” to make a new choice for a separate future…… but there is such a thing as hoarding the lifestyle for one party and making everyone else in the family adjust to the “new reality” just cause…. I don’t care about getting my nails done or shopping in the right stores…but even rich people get their most heartfelt desires for their children dashed by the freaks on the bench . It really boils downs to the basic morality of the parents to protect the future of their children. Maybe instead of court “face_offs” with ” fully loaded attorneys
    coming out to duel it out” people should fill out a “vision statement” for what they want for them selves and the children for the future….so they can get a handle on the fact that they have baggage
    and they own the results.

  40. Family courts should not redistribute money between parents, after the divorce is final. Divorce should not entitle the kids to maintain the same standard of living as before the divorce, when mom has decided to divorce the father, which is the case 2/3 of the time. My ex is a teacher with two degrees. She does not work summers and refuses to get a higher income job. She receives $22,500 per year (tax free and gets IRS tax deductions for the kids) of child support from me. She got a mortgage-free house, cash, car, furniture and part of my pension in the settlement for the divorce she wanted. She got 60% of the community property. I provide health and dental insurance for the kids. The child support fully supports the kids (and much of her) in her house, including the utilities bills, school costs,medical, clothing, extra activities, gas and insurance. There is enough money to pay for a maid and gardener at her house. I pay the child support mandated in Texas. The law recently changed and the amount I am forced to pay increased to $25,000 per year, with all of the other burdens already mentioned. There is no requirement to demonstrate need to get the higher amount. There is no consideration of her income or assets or lifestyle or time spent with the father. The only question in Texas is’ “What is the salary of the non-custodial parent (father)?”. She has no incentive to earn more money to help support the kids. I fully support the kids at my and her house. All of this is consistent with Texas family law, where the children are property of the mother and fathers are a source of money.

    Children should be 50/50 at both parents’ houses (unless a parent does not want the time and child costs should be paid by the parent having the kids at the time. Both parents should support the children. Parents should support themselves as they choose.

    The old idea that the father should support the mother after divorce is not consistent with modern society and surely encourages divorce. The woman can throw out the man and keep her lifestyle intact for years into the future. For me all of this continues, as the mother bad mouths me to the kids. My kids have lost their childhood and their father. I am not welcome for even a phone call or a visit to an ice cream shop. But, I am expected to pay for college, cars and weddings. My 17 year old refuses to get a summer job and any protesting by me will drive the child to the mother’s house. I feel sad for the next generation, which will not learn any sense of self intiative, watching their mother live this way, with the court’s blessings.

    • No doubt I agree with you. When the divorce is over the CS is set and if one or both parents work hard enough to move UP the corp ladder that hard working parent should never be asked to pay out more to the ex.

      Allow him or her to decide whether or not the children deserve extra for their behavior. Stop this nonsense.

      Divorced folks are not treated equally as per our Constitution mandate’s it. Look at the states that still enforce NCP to pay for college ?

      Also, why are men less likely have full custody of the children? Because men are the bigger bread winners thus higher CS money is collected which gives more kick back to the state.