Current child custody laws are much more fair than they used to be and they usually take into account that the child needs both parents in his or her life. So they try to arrange for joint custody whenever possible, and this really helps the child and the family as a whole.
Child support doesn't cover all the costs assoicated with feeding & clothing the kid, let alone paying the medical costs or other bills. The primary care taker spends more of their money per month than what they're receiving in support. In short, all parties suffer. And money can bring out the worst in people.
The choice of custody belongs to two parties - the parents or the children. The law making the decision for them complicates matters. Parents should agree on who can take the children and when without letting their emotions get in the way, unless the children are capable of making their own decision.
No, I do not believe that child custody laws help kids, because they only operate to shut fathers out of their children's lives. A mother is much more likely to leave her husband or not marry her baby's father in the first place, if she knows that the father is on the hook for large child support payments each month.
I believe current custody laws harm broken families more than anything else. There is very little in this system that is helpful. Having dealt with this system to obtain child support I still may have to go back for custody hearings, but since I, nor the father of my child can afford a lawyer, it has not happened yet. The ever changing laws and differences between states allows for a lot of misunderstandings and uneven rights between states. The whole arena of child support and child custody truly needs to be overhauled.