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Custody and finance

Child custody and the personal finance of each parent are a major issue during many divorces. Parents must often make difficult choices in order to afford the things that their children need, and the difficult of dividing up those costs between two people who are currently in disagreement can be tricky.

Theoretically, each parent should be on equal financial footing after an equal splitting of mutual assets and the calculation of spousal support payments to help the lesser earning spouse maintain their lifestyle. However, that is not always the way things end up, with one member of the couple often entering with assets that are not subject to the divorce division of assets. Terms in a prenuptial agreement can also affect the end financial result for many people.

The question of whether finances should affect child custody is also an interesting one. Again, theoretically each parent should have equal resources with which to care for the child. However, the end result can be different and can leave one parent with a bigger house, nicer car, or other apparent advantages. Whether the parent with more resources should have primary custody is a controversial idea, and the answer certainly varies from case to case.

The waters can also be muddied by the ongoing dispute, and the sometimes high cost of legal fees in a divorce. In a situation in which one parent works and the other stays home but has family resources or other savings to rely on, the ability to continue the dispute may be unbalanced.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Should the richer parent get custody?" Pauline Gaines, Sep. 28, 2012

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