Protection for Children from The Process of Divorce


Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Looking at the financial side of divorce, children can become the inadvertent or intentional focus of financial negotiations. They may also become the victims of negative arguments between adults in divorce. A child seeing a parent degrading the other parent can be devastating to that child. In the video “Split,” we see some children that withdraw from conflict and make up their own worlds to live in. Some become confused and do not have a solid emotional base from which to operate. Others build their defenses and appear to “handle” the change only to act out later in life as they deal with depression and other emotional issues that were buried along the way.

Child support is a fact of the law under all jurisdictions in the United States. It is based on the concept that children are the responsibility of the parents and should not become welfare recipients. Due to this mandate of law, the elements of support are often a point of contention, and include income allocable to support and the time a child spends with each parent. The more time a child spends with a parent, the more money is assumed to be spent by that parent for that child. Likewise, the more income one person has, the more capable they are of providing support for that child.

Father and daughters bonding by the lake

Father and daughters bonding by the lake


This scale of income versus time is used by some to manipulate the calculation to reduce their support obligations. Others use the time and income sides of the calculation to push for higher levels of support as a way of increasing their income, while never intending to use the funds for the child. These are the realities that ultimately come down to the injured person—the child—being the focus of a perverse argument over money.

In 2016, one case we worked on included the couple insisting that the income and time be balanced so that there was no child support obligations. Their incomes were almost identical; they purchased homes near each other so that their child could attend the same school and be around friends that are familiar and consistent. Also, the child had grandparents in the same neighborhood. While this is idealistic, it is an illustration of a couple that was looking out for the child in all aspects, and used their resources to foster that child’s wellbeing. They even set up a 529 plan that they equally fund for future education costs.

This ideal is not realistic for many based on economic needs. But the heart of the intention behind their choices is exemplary for couples to adopt. Keep the children’s interest first. They did not choose the divorce, and they should not suffer the consequences of adults fighting over financial considerations.

 

Armand and Robbin D’Alo