Children of High-Income Families May Be Hit Harder By Divorce

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Sep 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

The financial status of a family at the time of divorce can create very different challenges. Low-income families may struggle with the transition of dividing a family income. Wealthier families will also have to shift their standards of living. While it may seem that low-income families have a harder time with divorce, a new study suggests that children of wealthier families suffer more behavioral problems in the event of divorce. According to a Times Magazine report on a study published in Child Development, children may suffer disparate impact, depending on their family income, their age, and whether they have been incorporated in a blended family after divorce.

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Researchers at Georgetown University used a national sample of 4,000 children who were divided among three groups by income. Researchers then studied the impact of divorce and change on each group. Children in high-income families suffer from more behavioral problems after a divorce. Regardless of your family's financial status before or after a divorce, transition can be challenging. Our Birmingham family law attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of parents facing divorce. We understand the varied challenges you may face and will help protect your financial, personal, and legal interests.

According to researchers, children from wealthy families are likely to act up and have more long-term behavioral problems after divorce. While the authors of the study have not said conclusively why this may be the case, they have offered suggestions. One theory is that fathers who are breadwinners will often move out of the house, causing a significant reduction in household income. Many of these children will also have to change schools or move into new neighborhood. The change in living standards combined with the instability can take its toll on children. Authors also suggest that children in lower-income families may not be impacted because divorce is more common among low-income families. For these children, divorce may be more normative and less stressful.

Researchers wanted to point out that age does play a role in how much divorce will affect behavioral problems. The behavior changes and differences between the three groups were only noticeable in children younger than five. There was no impact on children between the ages of 6 to 12. Children who were older than 6 who had blended families also showed improvements in their behavior. This comprehensive study combined with other studies show that there are many factors that can impact how a child will react to divorce as well as whether the divorce will cause behavioral problems.

When facing divorce, it is normal to be concerned about how your decision can impact the life of your children. While there are some steps you can take to reduce the impact, the most important action is to protect your legal rights and financial interests through strategic advocacy. An experienced attorney can review your case, identify your objectives and pursue the best course of legal action through negotiation and settlement or litigation.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama


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