Child custody disputes are never pleasant. They are, however, perhaps even more problematic for those families with lower incomes. There are certain costs that few factors into these issues and those costs can wreak havoc on those without a substantial financial safety net. Below are just a few of the ways that a custody dispute can impact low-income families.
Unfortunately for most working parents, court hearings are held during weekdays. This means that every hearing will lead to a day taken off from work. For those who work hourly, every court date then means lost wages. Even an hour missed here or there can quickly add up, especially for those who are already having trouble making ends meet. The sheer amount of time spent in court can also lead to poor performance reviews and a lack of promotion opportunities.
Drawn Out Custody Battles
The longer the custody dispute, the more it wreaks havoc on a family’s daily rituals and income. For low-income families, this can cause a lot of problems. To avoid this, it’s important to hire a competent child custody lawyer. Although it may cost more upfront, it will be less than a long, drawn out court case. Also, many lawyers will be willing to work with their clients to come up with a payment plan that takes into account their situation.
When most people think of costs, they look at financial impacts. The truth is that custody issues have a huge emotional impact on those who are already dealing with plenty of other difficulties. The pressure that comes from repeated court appearances, missing work, and figuring out how to pay an attorney can be incredibly difficult—and these problems are all multiplied by the very real difficulties that caused the custody disputes in the first place.
Support System Failure
Finally, it should be noted that custody issues place a huge strain on the support systems that lower-income families use to survive. Having to ask too many favors to covers shifts or to provide child care on court days can tax even the most robust systems, leading to failures when it matters the most. Damaging these relationships can have a huge impact on the lives of families going forward.
Custody disputes can be incredibly impactful for those who have money issues. From the monetary costs to the emotional toll, custody problems should always be taken seriously. Without a solid plan to move forward, everyone involved can be damaged. It is important to provide support to low-income families as many of these life events can be especially challenging for them.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan