In decades past, the mother was usually the one who got primary custody of the children when a divorce occurred. This was due to the man usually being the primary breadwinner in the household. That is changing, however, and more women are now working full-time and out-earning their husbands. Still, the courts seem to award the mother with primary custody, leaving the father to work hard to pay alimony and child support.
What happens, though, when a father decides to leave a good paying career — or at least cuts back on his hours — in order to have more time with their children? This is happening more often than you might think. In 2012, there were 189,000 fathers who were staying at home to raise their children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is up from 93,000 in 2002. Is this scenario good for everyone?
There are several things that can happen in this scenario. The father’s salary decreases, which means that modification may occur that results in lower child support and alimony parents. His ex-wife is now unhappy, because she does not receive as much income as she had been getting. In addition, the father is now receiving more time with the children — or even equal time. The mother may even feel that the father has just disrupted her life and the children’s lives.
In some states, the amount of child support is tied to the amount of time a parent has the children. In other words, equal parenting means that neither the father or the mother isn’t paying child support. While this isn’t the case in Colorado where child support is based on a specific formula, it is something to consider.
While child custody matters are often contentious, it’s important to remember that the best interests of the child should always come first. If that means a father will make less money in order to see his children more, then that could be what the court will decide is in the best interests of the children.
Source: Huffington Post, “Divorced Dads Who Choose Parenting Over Income and Child Support: Sinners or Saints?” B. Robert Farzad, Feb. 24, 2014