According to the U.S Census Bureau, there are approximately 13.6 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 22.4 million children. This presents a significant financial burden both collectively and individually. Across the board, single parents tend to struggle financially more than any of their counterparts; and single mothers file for bankruptcy two times more often than women without children.
Raising children is expensive. According to US government statistics, the cost of raising a child until age 17 has risen to $286,000 on average, and 59% of parents admit that they underestimated the cost of raising children.
Those raising children alone have to carry these costs – and the emotional burden – without a partner. They may be limited in their available time and energy and may have to work off-hours to accommodate the kids’ schedules. Many single parents state they must sacrifice much of their income to pay for childcare.
With only one breadwinner, there is always the potential of losing their sole paycheck and any health benefits for the family. A loss of income can cause problems much more quickly, causing single parents to have to use credit cards or deplete their savings to pay daily expenses.
Cost of Living is Rising Rapidly
We don’t have to tell you that inflation is becoming an issue. With gas prices approaching $5 per gallon in Florida, getting to and from work cuts the budget significantly. Food prices are up considerably, and the recent influx of new Florida residents has driven housing and apartment costs up 30% in just one year. This means that someone paying $1200 a month last year will be required to pay close to $1600 per month this year. That makes getting by more difficult than ever, especially for an economy still reeling from losses incurred during COVID.
In other words, if you are a single parent finding it challenging to survive day-to-day, you are not alone – and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
There is an Answer for Single Parents
The bankruptcy process was designed as a solution for those who find themselves in dire financial straits or who cannot get out from under their debt.
In 2019, over 752,000 personal bankruptcies were filed in the United States. In 2020, that number dropped to just over 523,000, and in 2021 the number dropped to under 400,000. However, as you can expect, these numbers often reflect the financial status of the nation overall, with some lag time. It can be expected that more individuals will be filing for bankruptcy in 2022 and 2023 as the economic pressures discussed above take hold.
Parents with children at home must not ignore the situation or delay looking for a solution to their financial difficulty. By working proactively with creditors and facing the challenges head-on, they can design a more positive outcome. Speaking with a bankruptcy attorney about your options may help you save your home, car or other assets – or at least to work towards the most favorable outcome for you and your children – a fresh financial start.
Times are difficult, and no one should feel guilt or shame for finding themselves in a financial crisis. If you are in the Sarasota area and need help, call the experts at the law offices of Richard V. Ellis. You will receive the professional – and compassionate – advice and guidance you need.