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Study: divorce affects wealthy kids' behavior the most

A study that attempts to identify links between class and divorce’s impact on children seems to raise as many questions as it answers. Still, it presents an interesting glimpse into how parents’ divorce may affect children of wealth more than children from the middle class or those closer to the poverty line.

Time Magazine reports that researchers at Georgetown University conducted a long-term, nationwide study of nearly 4,000 children. They divided the subjects into three categories based on their household income, and observed how changes in family structure, such as divorce, affected the kids in each group.

The authors of the resulting study conclude that divorce affects children of high-income families differently than those from less wealthy households. Wealthier children aged 3 to 5 tended to have more behavioral problems after their parents divorced. On the other hand, rich children 6 or older seemed to benefit more from having a stepparent at home than the rest of the children in that age range.

The lead author does not have an answer for this apparent class difference among young children. She theorizes that parents getting separated is a more common event among middle- and lower-income families, so a parent moving out is less of a shock outside of the economic elite. Having a good home environment is most important to children in the middle and lower classes, whether or not that includes both parents in the home, the author said.

Most parents in Minnesota going through divorce would agree that they want to minimize the emotional and psychological impact of the change on their children. One way this can be achieved to try to work together, with the help of each parent’s attorney, to create a fair and practical child custody arrangement that puts the kids’ well-being first.

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