Finance or Welfare - What should be more important for legal custody of a child?

Finance or Welfare - What should be more important for legal custody of a child?

Finance or Welfare - What should be more important for legal custody of a child?

Indian law on child custody

Indian law gives maximum importance to the welfare of the child in case parents are getting divorced to decide who among them shall have the custody of the child if he/she is a minor.

Joint custody: This is done in settlement between both the parents if they decide that one shall have the physical custody or the right to live with the child while the other gets an equal say in taking care of the child’s needs.

Sole custody: This is done when one of the parents has proved to be unfit or abusive towards the child or is addicted to any substance; the other parent gets the complete custody of the child.

Third party custody: This is decided upon when none of the parents prove to be efficient in taking care of the child or if they deceased. Court decides a third person who gets the complete custody of the child.

Hindu law: The mother gets the custody of the child below five years. Custody of older boys goes to father while of older girls goes to mother, depending on the best interest of the child. If the child is above 9 years, he/she gets a say in who they want to live with. If the mother is proven to be neglectful, the custody goes to the father.

Muslim law: Under Muslim law, the mother gets the sole custody of the child under the Right of Hizanat, unless she is found neglectful or guilty of misconduct. Father gets the custody only in the absence of the mother.

Christian law: Both parents continue to be natural guardians and custody only decides who the child shall live with based on the interests of the child.

Unwed mother doesn’t need consent from the biological father to keep the child and is the sole guardian of the child.

When divorce is inevitable, it is eventually the child that suffers the most emotionally. The custody of the child is the next traumatic war that the child has to tolerate if separated parents were not enough of a heartbreaker for the child.

Bombay High Court has ruled that finance of the parent will not be the key to deciding custody of the child. Even if the mother is not earning well, she can have the child’s custody if it means that the child will be safer and in better condition with her. There are some that feel that finance is of more importance and should be given priority.


1. For a better future: If one of the parents is in a more secure place and can provide better living, education and future to the child, keeping the other conventions aside, that parent should be given a chance at taking care of the child, keeping in mind that he/she can also provide good care to that the child needs the most during the earlier days.

2. Mothers are left with no financial support: The mother may not want to give up on her child but it eventually becomes difficult for a single mother to meet financial needs as well as provide complete care to children below 5 years. Joint custody is not always opted for as some fathers would rather have no role in providing for the child if they do not get the custody of the child.

3. Education comes with a cost: Education, medical expenses, and other childcare expenses are all very pricey. If one of the them is richer and can afford to provide it all to the child, he/she should be given a chance at the custody to at least ensure that he/she can also take care of the child while providing better environment to the child. Education is so expensive these days that it is indeed difficult for a single parent to earn full time and give time to an infant.

4. Legal support also comes with a cost: It is usually seen that one of them is not able to afford paying for legal aid and has to give up on the child so the child’s custody eventually goes to the richer parent. In order to prove the other parent guilty of misconduct, false accusations and revelations in court cause further trauma to the child.


1. Money cannot buy happiness: Even though the father might be richer and in a better position, a child will always need the mother the most. In some cases the mother hails from a richer family and gets the custody of the child while the lesser earning father could be competent enough to provide a much better growing environment to the child.

2. Abusing power: Money does buy power and means to prove the other person guilty. This is what happens in most of the cases where a richer parent is bent on gaining the custody of the child. Court’s decision to uphold welfare over finance is absolutely right and should be followed without making any changes to it.

3. Better future: A happy and caring environment is necessary for better development of the child. A person’s behavior and nature is reflection of his earlier day’s upbringing. In a neglectful environment, amid every expensive toy a child cannot find what is most necessary for his brighter future. Money may determine what kind of school he goes to but not what kind of basic education he receives.

4. Joint custody: Even if one parent is richer than the other, the physical custody of minor to stay with mother is important. Shared custody is always ideal when divorce is inevitable. This way the child gets financial support as well as good care and environment.

Welfare and interest of the child should always be the priority while deciding upon the custody but finance should also not be ignored. The richer parents should share the custody and provide for the child. Physical custody of an infant shouldn’t be fought over. Once the child attains maturity, he/she gets the right to choose who they want to live with.
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