daughters deserve dads

Why Divorcing Always Mom’s Deserve Child Support

Well, they don’t. Mom’s don’t deserve child support any more than dads do. Federal family law begs to differ, but I believe we should be equal parents across the board: time, money, and custodial rights.

I was just reviewing this post I wrote a while back. (Read this: I’ve Had Enough: My Ex-wife Pushes for Gold Again) In this post, I was ranting about my ex-wife’s ask for additional money for my son, who’s now 19 and in college. In the post she mentions that she and her husband are giving him $1,000 per month and maybe I should consider matching that. Um… Yeah.

Divorcing Mom’s Always Get Child Support

Nationwide, mom’s get the custodial parent role over 80% of the time.

Custody Breakdown by Sex of Parent

Is that how it should be? As my readership is 70% women, I’m guessing your average mom reader will say, yes, they deserved to be the custodial parent, and yes, when given the children 70% of the time, they should be entitled to some financial support to pay for the extra parenting duties and household expenses. I can see their perspective, and I can see that the family courts across the country are agreeing with that idea. AND, I can enthusiastically disagree.

dad and his new baby

What If We Started at 50/50?

What if my wife had actually honored our parenting arrangement, and had honored our 50/50 agreement in the divorce? What if we were forced to deal 50/50 with the money, with the schedule, with the duties of being parents for our two kids? What if…

What 50/50 Shared Parenting Means

  • No parent is given the upper hand in negotiations about money, schedule, or parenting
  • Every expense for the kids is a shared expense, and thus a discussion should occur before major decisions are made (Sure, our parenting plan and divorce decree should’ve been enough, but if you disagree with a custodial mom, you’ve got to go to court to sue her for changes, or for her neglect in following the rules.)
  • Decisions about parenting, school, discipline, and hundreds of others would be shared
  • It values the parenting and loving contributions of BOTH parents EQUALLY
  • It keeps the balance of power between the two adults

Once the courts are involved (as in the moment my ex-wife decided to turn our case over to the attorney general’s office for “enforcement”) there is a CUSTODIAL and a NON-CUSTODIAL parent. And well over 50% of a state’s attorney general’s office staff is ENFORCING CHILD SUPPORT against the non-custodial parent ON BEHALF OF the custodial parent. And the kicker is, the state is compensated by the federal government based on the amount they have under collections/management. The state’s attorneys are incentivized to go for the highest child support judgments possible and to keep those payments as high as possible, even if the non-custodial parent loses a job.

pictures of my son after the divorce

How Mom’s Abuse Their Gift

Let’s say you agree to have kids. Today, I’d suggest you read The Pre-Natal Agreement, and decide that you are going to parent 50/50 forever. This is going to require some serious stepping-up-to-the-plate for men who might otherwise opt-out of the full parenting experience. It is also going to require that women give up their “entitlement” to the state-approved “mom’s deserve custodial parenting rights.”

I think we both deserve custodial parenting rights. I believe we BOTH need to be 100% committed parents. And I believe we need to both respect and protect the rights and 50/50 sharing of our kids, EVEN IN THE CASE OF DIVORCE.

newborns need moms and dads equally

In my opinion, if we can’t agree to 50/50 parenting, we need to not have kids. If we’re going to go along with the stereotype that women make better parents and dads make better breadwinners, then we might consider a puppy rather than a child. I do not think moms are better than dads. I do not think dads have less emotional attachment to their children. What I believe, and what I fight for, is that dads are 100% as good as moms.

There are exceptions to any rule. There are shitty dads. There are shitty moms. But there are also a lot of fine moms who go along with the legal advice of their lawyers (see the movie Marriage Story) and fight to gain the upper hand and the lion’s share of both the money and the kid-time.

Moms also have to vow to respect and protect the rights of the father. And like a marriage vow, they need to promise to have and hold the other parent’s custodial rights as sacred and inalienable. Forever and ever amen.

But What About the Money

Of course, both parents need to share the expenses and time allocations required by having kids. When a major expense comes up, in a 50/50 arrangement, both parents confer and make the best decision for the entire family. In a 70/30 divorce, the custodial parent has all the power and can make decisions any way they like. They can agree to co-parent as it is written in the parenting plan, but if they decide they don’t want to, they can simply stop including the non-custodial parent in the decisions. In the traditional divorce today, one parent has the money and the power of the state’s attorneys behind them. The non-custodial parent could sue to get the custodial parent to cooperate, but that’s like setting hundred dollar bills on fire.

The money should be shared between parents even after divorce. In the case of my son, heading off to college, I found it humorous that my ex-wife was stepping up to the plate with her new husband and offering my son $1,000 per month to help him in college. I didn’t say it, but I wanted to ask her, “Remember when I paid you $45,000 in child support all-at-once and asked you to consider putting some of it aside for college?”

I wondered to myself if she even remembered my request. She was madder than hell that I had asked it. And she didn’t have to tell me anything about how she was going to spend the money. And this summer when I again asked if I could pay-ahead the rest of my child support, she basically blew me off until after September.

custodial parent is too busy to talk


And like that, she wields her “talk to the hand” power and my options are limited. If she doesn’t want to talk to me, co-parent with me, or even be nice to me, well, that’s the way it goes. But it’s hurtful to the kids when one parent is such a pill. If she had honored our 50/50 agreement, she would be much more considerate.

We might not like each other any more than we do now, but she would have to treat me with a tiny bit of respect. Today, she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to do. She got the deal she wanted. She’s going to go to the end of her days feeling justified and righteous. And probably, I’m going to feel like I should’ve fought for 50/50 parenting when she said no. Perhaps I should’ve lawyered up, like she did, and fought.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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