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Do rich kids struggle with parents' divorces more than poor kids?

It may be somewhat surprising that a recent study indicates that kids from wealthy divorcing parents experience more problematic behaviors than their counterparts born into poorer families.

Researchers at the University of Chicago and Georgetown University studied approximately 4,000 children from a national sampling from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The children were separated into three different groups based on income. The researchers then monitored the effects wrought by changes in each group's family structures.

A Georgetown University assistant psychology professor who was lead author for the study said that the findings indicate "family changes affect children's behavior in higher-income families more than . . . in lower-income families.

Conversely, children from wealthier parents derive greater benefits from integration into step-families than kids from less affluent families do. The age of the children when their parents split was a primary factor, suggesting that children were most vulnerable between the ages of 3 and 5.

While the study was able to show the disparity between the groups based on parental wealth, it failed to address the reasons behind it. The professor hypothesized that it could be related to the decline in family income when the father moves out, as traditionally husbands are the higher wage-earners. Another possibility is that the children have to adjust to transitions to new homes, schools, neighborhoods and friendships.

One theory she proposed about the way poorer children are more easily able to accept divorce is that there are more separated families among the less wealthy, and a divorce is perceived as not out of the norm.

The behavioral changes were most marked in children below the age of 5. Kids from 6 to 12 appeared to show no ill effects from mom and dad splitting up.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your high asset divorce, if your children are having a tough time, you can ask your family law attorney for a referral to a counselor who works with children of divorcing parents.

Source: TIME, "Wealthy Kids Are More Affected by Divorce Than Poor Kids," Belinda Luscombe, accessed June 25, 2015

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