Not My Kid, Not My Problem: How Dependent Deductions Impact All of Us

parenting plan

While the government proposes to take away dependent deductions and deductions for alimony, and family court continues to tear families apart, it feels like those in charge is telling us, “not my kid, not my problem.”   

Ahhhh… but you see, this is not the case, and I will tell you why.   

Dependent deductions are only helpful to those earning under $75,000, (i.e., those who need the extra break). The alimony deduction helps encourage the spouse who is paying alimony to pay a little more, knowing that the spouse receiving the alimony is collecting the money at a lower tax bracket and therefore, the family as a whole is receiving the money, rather than it just go the feds. Moreover, the payor is likely going to pay that “extra” to the government or his co-parent, in many circumstances. When in a process like mediation, it is a straightforward choice once the payor is shown this reality, for him or her to choose to give the “extra” to their co-parent and not the government.   

While all involved (the government, the judges, the lawyers…) may feel that it is not their problem, I beg to differ. These children who are going through divorce, especially minor children (although it also deeply affects children who are already out of the house also), will eventually grow into adults that we and OUR children have to deal with, day in and day out; as a boss, an employee, a teacher, or a spouse…  

Just because it is NOT YOUR KID… it is, in fact, YOUR PROBLEM… and MY problem. If we want to have a better community, town, city, country WORLD…we need to invest our resources into helping families who face divorce go through a mutually beneficial process, such as mediation. Rather than go through the very toxic litigation process. Don’t get me wrong, children of a mediated divorce are also affected, however, the difference is that the couple has a neutral third party who continually brings them back to their primary goal… doing what is best for their kids.   

Ultimately, every child is ALL of our responsibility. The old adage, “It takes a village,” we need to remember that and remember why it was created in the first place. It is hard enough to raise children in a two-parent family. Trying to raise a child, or children, as a single parent, with far less income than the family previously was accustom to, can feel insurmountable. If you see a mom or a dad in the store with a child in the middle of a tantrum, don’t judge, be kind. And if you ever find yourself in a position where a child who is not yours, looks up to you, take the time to be a good role model. We are all in this together…let’s make the world a better place.

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by: Jennifer Segura

Jennifer Segura with west coast family mediation center
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