Question of the week: Does divorce affect kids in higher-income families?


I have had many children’s ministers and church leaders tell me they don’t have children of divorce in their churches. Sometimes they cite the fact that their church is in middle-class America or in a higher-income area.

I assume the rationale for their statement is that couples in higher-income families don’t divorce as much as people in what one would consider lower-income families.

Middle-income families used to be the mainstay of strong marriages in the U.S. This is no longer true. As a matter of fact we are seeing the disappearance of Middle America as these couples move into cohabitation, single parenting, and repeated divorces. What we once knew as the “traditional” family has changed dramatically in the past fifty years.

Some people still hold out and believe that higher-income families are not affected and the kids in those families are faring well. In a recent article Divorce Hits Children in Higher-Income Families the Hardest, we are hearing about a different outcome for the kids in these families.

According to the new research, children in higher-income families are more vulnerable than their counterparts in lower-income families. The study cites several reasons for this.

  • Typically in these homes, it is the father who moves out initially, leaving the family to fend for themselves with mom having to go to work possibly for the first time.
  • With the breadwinner out of the home, the children’s lives change dramatically in the area of finances.
  • As the economic status changes, children will not only lose their home, but their social status among their peers.
  • Switching schools, loss of after-school lessons, and going home alone can cause more stress over their financial situation.
  • Since divorce is not widely acknowledged among the wealthier families, having one’s parents’ divorce can hit a child particularly hard.

One surprising element found in this research is about stepparents. It appears that children from higher-income families actually do better when a stepparent enters the picture. It might be the stepparent brings security to the situation. For the most part the stepparent will relieve the economic hardship the single-parent family has had to endure. With more funds, mom not having to work and financial security restored, the mother overall will be happier. If the mother is less stressed, it will trickle down to the children.

The answer to the question, “Does divorce affect kids in higher-income families” is yes, and many times they are affected more than their counterparts in lower-income families.

Be ever watchful in your church. Even though the research doesn’t show it, I would think if families had to move to another part of town or even to another city, the family would leave their church home. They may slip out quietly as embarrassment and hurt overwhelm them.







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  1. Pingback: DC4K » Question of the week: What are the effects of divorce on low-income families?

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