Whether in a wrongful death or divorce case, the lawyers are required to provide the Court with proper evidence of the costs associated with raising the children. The information is relevant to things like wrongful death damages or child support. So as lawyers we have to care about what it will cost the parents to raise a child; and so should you. For my practice I deal mostly with wrongful death damages than child support because my practice is focused on personal injury cases rather than divorce law. Also for divorce cases in Iowa we use the court ordered Uniform Child Support Guidelines like this one from 2010.

Where can we find child rearing cost information?

Every year the Unites States government issues a report about the costs to raise a child. I view this report and the associated costs as the investment cost for wrongful death cases involving a minor. Sort of like buying real estate or even machinery. What do I mean by this? Here is what I mean and why it applies to any parent’s investment in their children. Why are children worth anything to parents and why should the Courts allow monetary damages for the wrongful death of a child?

Let me focus your attention on a simple case of damages. If a corporation paid $100,000 for a press and someone destroyed it we wouldn't think twice about asking a jury to award $100,000 from whoever destroyed the press. And I don't see this as any different with a parent's investment in a child.

CNN Money: Average cost of raising a child hits $245,000

Wrongful death damages in Iowa are confusing simply because we allow emotion to cloud what should be a simple decision. Believe me when I say I have made this exact same mistake, but have learned from it. Where I disagree mostly with the economists, is their deduction for costs to raise the child without regard to the pleasure already received. The pleasure of raising a child has a value and to me those pleasures are equal to the costs of raising the child, but do not equal to in an amount allowing anyone to cancel out the entire investment. 

Video Instruction for Clients and Potential Clients: I have two videos queued up for you. The first is about preserving your wrongful death case and the second about preserving your child's ATV accident case. There are plenty of other instruction videos. If you don't find what you are looking for write to me and I will do my best to give you an answer. 

CNN Money: How much will it cost to raise your child?

As parents we anticipate future return on our investment with things like assistance, counseling, trust and the ability to rely on our children as we get older. Getting older means our skills and abilities diminish and the older I get the more I become acutely aware of the diminishing abilities I possess.

Parents invest in their children for exactly this reason. This is why awarding nothing for consortium is so completely wrong, either from a jury’s award or from the Court saying it is permissible. When the courts and a jury award nothing for consortium the decision values the investment at zero. The only way the law can arrive at this conclusion is to assume the public has a right to take away your investment without compensation.

USDA Cost of Raising a Child Calculator, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

We have children because love is worth something to us both as individuals and to society in general. Who knows maybe that child would have been the next Einstein or Carver.

Business Record Article from August 18, 2014

Average cost of raising a child hits $245,000

CNNMoney: It could cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child today -- and that's not even including the cost of college. Raising a child born in 2013 to age 18 will cost a middle-income couple just over $245,000, according to newly released estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's up $4,260, or almost 2 percent, from the year before. Estimates vary widely depending on where you live and how much you earn.

You can make your own estimate by using the USDA calculator found at this link. The calculator will allow you to estimate costs for up to six children based on your state of residence and the annual before-tax household income.

Here are the reports for 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009. You can view the reports for the periods 1995 through 2008 by following this link.

Regional Definitions

The Northeast includes: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The South includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The Midwest includes: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The West includes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Rural areas include any town or municipality with a population of fewer than 2,500 people.

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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