Finances and Single Parenthood

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are fast approaching and generally this brings happy thoughts of all the wonderful things our parents have done for us throughout our lives. While all parents sacrifice for their children, the sacrifices of single parents are often greater.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2003, that 10 million single mothers live with children under the age of 18 and that there are approximately 2 million single fathers. The U.S. Census Bureau further reported that among more than 10 million preschoolers, about 2 million are primarily cared for by a daycare center. These statistics makes one wonder how all of these children are being financially supported, including the cost of daycare?

Once parents end their relationship they usually stop sharing expenses and must now maintain two households instead of one. This significant change of events often requires the parent who was the “stay-at-home” parent to find employment, in addition to the other parent, so that the children can be adequately supported. The obvious “catch 22” is that in order to bring in enough income to support the children and the two households, the children are often placed in daycare. While placing the children in daycare increases the family’s monthly expenses, this cost is often, but not always, outweighed by the additional income brought into the family.

The State of California’s policy is that both parents have a duty to support their children. With some exceptions, this means that both parents must work, reduce their expenses and, based on a set of specific factors, usually results in one parent paying child support to the other parent. These events often add significant strains on both parents’ financial resources.

Therefore, while all parents sacrifice for their children, it is often the single parent whose sacrifice is magnified and worthy of much appreciation from their children.

Marlo Van Oorschot, Esq. is a Family Law Attorney and Mediator in West Los Angeles. Ms. Van Oorschot can be contacted at (310) 820-3414; or For further information on litigation and mediation of a family law matter, please visit