When deciding what your family will look like after a divorce, issues of child custody and child support have to come up. They may get resolved easily if you and your ex can work together for the best interests of the child. They may grow contentious if you both fail to see eye-to-eye on these important topics.
Either way, money is going to be a central issue that you need to deal with. Raising the children is not cheap. Caring for them costs you time, money and energy. You have to think about this while deciding where the kids will live, when you’ll see them, how to split up the costs, who will pay for specific things and much more.
So, let’s start with the base question: How much does it cost to raise a child?
While the answer obviously differs from case to case, depending on standards of living and other factors, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has studied it and come up with an average cost. That total is $233,610.
If you’re stunned because that seems too high, keep in mind that it is for a “middle-income family,” so economic status plays a role. If you think it seems far too low, you should know that it does not take the cost of college into account. That could easily add another $100,000 — or much more — to the total.
No matter what, you can see that you’re talking about some serious sums and financial obligations. Make sure you know how the divorce is going to impact that and what options you have.