Distributing Children As Property 161
median household income was about $2, 100 per month or about $25,500 per year in 2012.222 For
the same year, the median salary for single father families – a relatively small portion of single-
parent households – was about $3,050 per month or about $36,500 per year.223 Furthermore, over
40% of children in single parent households are considered poor and receive public assistance in
the form of Food Stamps.224 These statistics related to fiscal difficulty in single-family homes are
especially worrisome because child poverty is linked to poor academic achievement, higher
likelihood of dropping out of school, lack of emotional and physical health, and adult
unemployment.225 Most of these negative effects are also linked to the chronic stress that
accompanies children suffering from poverty.226
Given all the similarities most single-parent households have and the known correlations
between poverty and negative outcomes for children suffering from poverty,227 there is a high
probability that children in joint custody arrangements fare better than those in sole custody
arrangements primarily due to other underlying factors – particularly those associated with
economic hardship, lower parental educational attainment, chronic stress, and instability.228
b. Lack of Paternal Influence in Single-Mother Households
222 Presence of Children Under 18 Years Old All Families by Median and Mean Income: 1974 to 2012; F- 10, U.S.
CENSUS BUREAU (2016), http://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/income-poverty/historical-income-families.html.
224 Table C8., Poverty Status, Food Stamp Receipt, and Public Assistance for Children Under 18 Years by Selected
Characteristics: 2013, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (2016), http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013C.html.
225 See Harry J. Holzer et al., The Economic Costs of Poverty in the United States: Subsequent Effects of Children
Growing Up Poor, CTR. AMER. PROGRESS (2007), https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-
content/uploads/issues/2007/01/pdf/poverty_report.pdf; Effects of Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness on Children
and Youth, ,AMER. PSYCHOL. ASS’N., http://www.apa.org/pi/families/poverty.aspx.
226 Valerie Stauss, Public Education’s Biggest Problem Gets Worse, WASH. POST (Sept. 14, 2011),