If a Single Mother Is Requesting Child Support, Do You Think That the Father Should Gain Custody of Their Children Instead?

Volumes have been written, and even more volumes could be written, on the subject of child support policy. We don’t have time or space to examine this question from every angle, so I will give you my perspective on the question, knowing that there are a lot more factors that may affect the answer to this question.

First, a little history you may not be aware of. There was a time when custody of children of divorce was awarded to the father. It was automatic. Under Roman law, fathers had an absolute right to custody of their children based upon the position of the father as head of the family. Roman law is the foundation of English and American common law, which is why fathers in America also were awarded custody of children in the early history of the U.S.A. Over time, especially the early to mid-19th century, idea of fathers having an absolute right to the custody of their children changed to the point that the presumptive custodial parent changed 180 degrees from father to mother, with the idea being that “the best interest of the child” dictated such a thing. In the late 20th century and early 21st century we have seen this presumption that children must be in the sole or primary physical custody of one parent alone fall out of favor as “the best interest of the child” has come to favor children being reared by both parents, so long as both parents are fit and willing to exercise joint physical custody of their children.

As I see it, the most basic purpose of child support is to ensure that each parent has enough money to take care of the child when the child is with that parent. From that basic purpose arose the idea of a child maintaining a common standard of living when in the custody of each parent. The idea that a child should not reside in the care and custody of a parent who cannot maintain a certain standard of living for the child strikes some as unfair both to the child and to that parent. And so, the thinking goes that if one parent’s income exceeds the other parent’s income, then the poorer of the two parents needs contribution from the richer parent to ensure that the poorer parent has enough money to maintain a common standard of living when in the custody of each parent.


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Eric Johnson’s answer to If a single mother is requesting child support, do you think that the father should gain custody of their children instead? – Quora


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