Child Support Awareness Month

 Todays topic is child support.

In a previous video I discussed some of the financial considerations surrounding divorce but did you know that August is Child Support Awareness Month in many states.  The purpose is to raise awareness concerning the issues around child support.  The newest statistics are in and they are not good.

Less than half (actually about 41%) of the custodial parents who have been awarded child support are getting the full amount.  Almost 30% are getting no child support at all and another approximately 30% get some money but again, not all.

I experienced both sides

Personally, I was on both sides of this issue.  There was a time when I was paying child support before the kids came to live with me.  I know it is tough sometimes but you guys (and girls) who owe child support need to be paying it.  Your kids deserve it.

For you parents who are owed child support and are not getting it, you can contact the local child support agency in you state and seek help.  There is more information in my written blog about how to do that.

Some women prefer not to pursue child support

Many times I have spoken with parents, especially woman, who do not want to pursue child support for fear that will encourage the ex boy friend back into the picture.

But consider your child.  Isn’t your child is being deprived financially if they are not getting the support they deserve?  Consider also the future.  How will you cope with your child’s needs as they grow unless you have the support to do it?

Can you really do it alone?

Can you support your child on your own all the way through high school and college.  Can they participate in activities that will keep them occupied and off the streets (see my video on alcohol for example).  As I mentioned in prior videos on alcohol and drug use the children mist likely to stay clean are those who are very active in other things after school. And the after school hours are the time when kids get into alcohol and drugs initially.

And not applying for child support now does not guarantee the absent parent will not return in the future and demand rights anyhow.  It simply guarantees you child is not getting what he or she deserves now.  So think about it and go for it.  Get what is yours and what is your child’s.

Please subscribe to my channel. Also please leave me a comment and tell me what you think or ask a question.  And please click “like” and also “share” this video with your friends. Thank you!

Finally, go check out my website singleparenting.us.  Let’s get to know each other.  Good luck in the days ahead. My wish for you is that your children grow up healthy, and contribute to society in a positive way.  I’m here to help you get there. We’ll talk again.  This is Len. Bye for now!

Further information:

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE)

Financial Assistance Info for SingleParent/Low-Income Families …

http://www.elearners.com › … › ResourcesPay For College

Financial assistance resources for singleparent & low-income families. Online education resources from Project Working Mom.

Financial HelpFinancial Help and Assistance for Single Parents

http://singleparents.about.com/od/financialhel1/

SNAP benefits can help you make the most out of your grocery shopping dollars. Find out how to use a SNAP EBT card and how to plan ahead so that you can

Financial Help for Single Parents – Practical Advice for Making it Work

http://singleparents.about.com/od/financialhelp/

No matter where you live, there are resources in your state to help you get by and raise your children on your own. Find help for single parents in your state with

Financial help for lone parents : Directgov – Parents

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/parents/…/yourmoney/dg_4003043

If you are bringing up a child as a lone parent there is a wide range of financial help available to you. This applies whether you are working, looking for a job or

 financial help for single parents,financial help,financial

http://www.singlespouse.com/financial.html

The best site that provides an online community for single parents and also financial help for single parents.

Social Security Publications

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10101.html

This Social Security Administration fact sheet explains who can qualify for food stamps and how to apply.

Foodstamps : The Unofficial guide to SNAPS programs

http://www.foodstamps.org

Foodstamps.org makes understanding the US SNAPS program simple. Get quick access to Forms, qualification rules, rules & regulations, and FAQs

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Effects of Divorce on Children

Edward Beal and Gloria Hochman in their book “Adult Children of Divorce ” state, “Almost no one disputes that a home headed by a mother and father who are compatible provides the best environment for a child’s healthy development. A two-parent family, especially one where the parenting is constant and continuous, gives children the greatest emotional security.”

Well now you don’t have a functioning two parent household so no what.  First and foremost your children need a lot of love and attention. Divorce is devastating to the child.  Again quoting from Beal and Hochman, “Children of divorced parents are convinced that they have been cast out of the Garden of Eden. If only their parents had stayed together, they would feel more secure. They would be more stable. They would be capable of having more fulfilling relationships. They would achieve greater happiness.”

No matter how bad the marriage was, the child takes much of the divorce personally.  No matter how reassuring you are able to be that it wasn’t the child’s fault – they still internalize a lot of guilt and anger.  They frequently feel that they are somehow to blame for it all.  “If I had been better, mom and dad would still be together”. They never really accept the divorce.  They still think of you as a couple and they will try to bring you together. This is especially true on Christmas and other holidays and on birthdays.

When the non-custodial parent is picking them up, they will sometimes suggest the custodial parent come along.  “Oh mom it won’t hurt if dad comes too.  We’re just going to the park.”  If you begin to date someone, the children are likely to ask, “Mom, can’t you just go out with dad?”

Depending on the age of your child at the time of divorce, he or she will react differently and have different needs for you to fill.  Summarizing chapter three “The Difference Divorce Makes ” from Beal and Hochman, the youngest preschool children (ages two to three) regress and are fretful, bewildered and aggressive.  Slightly older preschool children are whiny, tearful and aggressive.  Five and six year olds are restless and often throw temper tantrums.  Seven and eight year olds are simply sad. Nine and ten year olds are embarrassed and ashamed of their parent’s behavior.

Adolescents are often the hardest hit since it is a critical time in their own development as they try to wean their way away from the parents and out into the world.  Teenagers are often angry and very judgmental.

Even when my oldest child was twenty-five and he still walked around talking about how people shouldn’t have children unless they can stay together and take care of them.  He still harbored a lot of anger and hostility over the fact that his parents weren’t together for most of his life.

An excellent summary on the effects of divorce on children of various ages was written by the University of New Hampshire and is available at http://extension.unh.edu/family/documents/divorce.pdf

What can we as parents do to help our children through this difficult time in our lives?  First and foremost, even though we may be sad or angry personally, we need to recognize our child’s concerns and reassure them that they did nothing wrong.  Make sure they understand the divorce was not their fault.

Reassure them they will still have a relation with the other parent and “No”, they do not need to go get a new mom or dad.  As painful as it may be for you, try to say nice things about your former partner to the children.  No matter how upset you are, your children need to have a relation with your former spouse.

Try as much as possible to maintain some stability for your children, same school same friends etc if possible and try to communicate directly with your former spouse about the children’s needs and also the visitation schedule.  Finally as I said previously, recognize that the children will continually try to reunite you.  Just accept it. They still think of you as a couple and they will try to bring you together. This is especially true on Christmas and other holidays and birthdays.

For an excellent summary and lot’s of suggestions as to what to do during this difficult time see http://www.helpguide.org/mental/children_divorce.htm

Good luck in the days ahead. My wish for you is that your children grow up healthy, and contribute to society in a positive way.  I’m here to help you get there. We’ll talk again.  This is Len. Bye for now!

 

 

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Financial Considerations for Divorcing Parents

Single parenting takes what seems like superhuman reserves of physical and emotional energy. In days gone by, a wife and mother who stayed home listed her occupation as “unemployed”.  Today that same woman would list her occupation as “homemaker”.  And indeed, in today’s complex society being a homemaker is respected as a full time occupation and the homemaker is accorded the respect she deserves.  What then of the single parent who cannot be a full time homemaker?

He or she must be a homemaker after their other full time job.  The single parent has two full time jobs and sometimes more.  I have a friend who works a 40 hour job during the day and waitresses at night to make ends meet.  This is superhuman! Many single parents are forced to hold a second part time job just to pay the bills.  In fact, sometimes the second job is necessary to pay for the childcare required so the single parent can do the first job.  This is I suppose especially true for many single mothers who have relatively low paying jobs in our society where woman are traditionally accorded the lower skilled jobs and pay scales.

In fact, many of you may have already gone from a comfortable lifestyle to near poverty.  The vast majority of single family homes (over 80%) are run by the mother and studies have shown that the average living standard for woman and their children who are living with them may drops dramatically.  Unfortunately in our society, women still earn less than men.  The median income for males age 25 or older is approximately $39,000 and for woman is $26,500. Of more compelling interest is the fact that the median household income is $46,000 for all households and over $67,000 for two earner households.  The point is, over 42% of all households and 76% of households in the top 20% had two or more wage earners. The conclusion is obvious. If you are a woman (which many of you are) and you have experienced a divorce or other separation agreement, chances are you have lost a household income.

ell what about child support?  Doesn’t that make up the difference? Hardly! First only 56.9% of you have been awarded child support at all and the average is $5366. So there you have it.

You have one, or more, angry, emotionally stressed children who are quite possibly beginning to experience some difficulty at school, your income has dropped substantially and the boss expects you to be at work on time daily.  On top of all that if you are among the unlucky 47% of divorced woman, your ex isn’t paying his full child support.

According to recent statistics, only 47.1% (or about half) of the woman who are awarded child support are getting the full amount; and, another 76% get only partial payments.  Even worse, according to government statistics, about one-quarter (24.6%) of custodial parents and their children had income below the poverty level in 2007. The US government defines poverty level as $14,710 for two persons in a family and a whopping $18,530 for a three person household.

I don’t mean to bore you with statistics, but the fact is, if you are feeling financially challenged, you are not alone.  Many of you are in very difficult financial positions.

So in addition to everything else, you are quite possibly financially stressed and your children are experiencing the additional difficulty of not having the same financial support they enjoyed when you were married.  They likely blame you for their financial deprivation and continue to point out that, “if you had stayed with dad, these things wouldn’t have happened”.

Fortunately there are a lot of good programs that offer help for single parents.  Almost every state has a 211 number.  Picking up the phone and dialing 211 can put you in touch with a wide variety of services such as housing or a food pantry.

 

There is also “SNAP” which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (used to be called food stamps) and can help you feed your family.  The SNAP website is http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/

You might also check out the following website:

http://www.foodstamps.org

Foodstamps.org makes understanding the US SNAPS program simple. Get quick access to Forms, qualification rules, rules & regulations, and FAQs

Unfortunately there are also lots of scams that prey on single moms.  Be wary of any program that sounds too good to be true and charges a fee before you receive their purported services, especially if it is a grant.

For more information see for example, http://singleparents.about.com/.  This is an excellent website by Jennifer Wolf and covers a wide range of topics.

If you happen to live in the UK and are in need of assistance, there is a website for you at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Moneyandworkentitlements/YourMoney/index.htm

Now a dose of reality from Len.  Having been a single parent, I truly realize that the demands of the house, kids and primary job almost preclude having the time to explore these options in depth.  Who has the time to be sitting on the phone, filling out forms, standing in lines and dealing with government agencies?

I have watched my daughter spend countless hours trying to deal with the confusing volumes of paper and requirements for housing assistance and other government programs.

So all I can say is, “Good luck”. My wish for you is that your children grow up healthy, and contribute to society in a positive way.  I’m here to help you get there. We’ll talk again.  This is Len. Bye for now!

 

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