Divorce’s effect on children depends on parents’ income

A new study says that children of high-income families experience divorce differently than children of low-income families.

Study finds children from high-income families more affected by divorce

It is fairly well known that high net-worth divorces differ from other types of divorces in many substantial ways. Most people understandably assume that families with higher incomes and more assets are more likely to get caught up in difficult financial questions following a divorce. What may be surprising, however, is that a new study says that children of high net-worth families appear to be more affected by divorce than children of low-income families, according to Newsweek. The study concluded that divorce's effect on children's behavior seemed to be related to the income of their parents prior to divorce.

Surprising results

The study, performed by researchers at Georgetown University and the University of Chicago, came to some surprising conclusions about how wealth impacts children during a divorce. The study divided a large group of children and divided them into three groups, lower, middle, and upper income families. The researchers then studied how the children were affected by significant family changes and further divided the children into groups based on age.

The researchers concluded that children younger than five who came from high-income families were more likely to have behavioral problems after a divorce than older children or children from low-income families. On the other side, however, the researchers also found that children over the age of six who came from high-income families were more likely to benefit emotionally and behaviorally after being welcomed into a new stepfamily than low-income children, according to Time.

Reasons offered

While the study itself did not try to explain why children may react differently to a divorce depending on their families' incomes, researchers did offer a few possible explanations. One researcher claimed that the reason may be because in high-income families where the father is more likely to be earning most of the money, children can experience a particularly dramatic change when the father moves out and the mother's income suddenly drops.

On the other hand, researchers also pointed out that divorce and family structural changes are more common in low-income households, meaning children of low-income families may see such changes as more "normal" than wealthier children would. Researchers nonetheless admitted that income could not account for the discrepancies entirely and said that more research would have to be done to understand the reasons behind the results.

Divorce issues

The above story shows that divorce can be a difficult and painful process for any family, regardless of how much money they make. While it is difficult to entirely protect children from the fallout of a divorce, parents can nonetheless take steps to make sure their separation is not overly hurtful for their children. One of the best ways of doing this is by ensuring that a divorce goes as smoothly as possible.

A smooth divorce, however, has the best chance of happening when parents have expert legal representation at their side right from the start. With a qualified family law attorney, parents or spouses with an outstanding family legal issue will have the help they need to ensure their family is protected during difficult times.

Keywords: divorce, children