Child support judgments: Comparing public policy to the public's policy

Ira Mark Ellman, Stephen Mckay, Joanna Miles, Caroline Bryson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Any child support regime necessarily makes policy choices about how parental income should be shared between the two parental households. Those choices involve balancing the claims of the child, the claims of the custodial parent for help with the expense of providing for the child, and the claims of the support obligor for autonomy in deciding how to spend his own earnings. That balancing task is complicated by the fact that the child and the custodial parent necessarily share a living standard, so that any child support transfer, large or small, will unavoidably benefit the custodial parent as well as the child. This article reports the findings of an empirical study designed to reveal how the British public believe this balance should be struck. It then compares the public's preferred policies to the policy choices implicit in the current UK child support schedule. It concludes that there are important gaps between the two, and recommends that consideration be given to amending the current UK law to better align it with the public's values on these matters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-301
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Law, Policy and the Family
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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