BOSTON (CBS) – Telling the kids that your marriage is over is very difficult! I have a bias here. Children are the innocent bystanders during a divorce. As the adults you need to take the lead and help them through this disruptive time. There is no right or wrong, just fix it for the kids.
Recent studies contradict studies done in the 70s and 80s and have shown that kids do get beat up emotionally in a divorce and some never recover. It affects their future relationships and behavior.
So here is where a couple should be spending their time, energy, and money. Trying to do what is right by the kids. This does not mean that money is going to make up for the breakup of the family. But the kids should be the priority.
For most kids their standard of living changes, and not for the better. According to the Census Bureau there are over 74 million kids under 18 in the U.S. and of that number over 27 million are living in single parent households. Over 23 million live with their mom and over 3 million live with their dad. Many of the kids living in a two-parent home are living with stepparents. That is a lot of kids affected by divorces.
Child support? How much should the non-custodial parent be expected to pay? Check AllLaw.com for a calculator to help you figure out how much a parent will need to pay in child support. If you have a child with special needs or special schooling requirements child support may be more.
How much will it cost you to raise your child? The numbers are staggering, according to the U.S. Dept of Agriculture’s most recent numbers for a child born in 2011, a middle class family, will pay out almost $235,000 ($234,900) for care and feeding for this child thru age 18. That does not include college. Just the everyday expenses of raising a kid, like food, clothing, housing, health insurance, sports equipment, braces, computers, car seats etc. And what the Department of Agriculture considers middle class is a family with before tax income between $59,410 and $102,870.
If you are relying on your spouse for child support and help with the college expenses be sure your spouse has life insurance. Make it a part of the divorce settlement. If she or he refuses you can ask the judge to order it.
And if all else fails, buy the insurance yourself. That way you know the premiums are being paid and you want to be sure your spouse is insurable before the divorce settlement.
One more thing: Check out Bankrate.com’s website for a calculator on how much it will cost you to raise your child.
You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.
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