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Old 05-22-2007, 11:36 AM
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Default What Were They Thinking........

Recently a post requested what exactly did CS cover. Below is an excerpt from a research report on The Child Support Guidelines of 1997.
I do not know if this still holds true for the revised guidelines

This is purely FYI.........

Support and Standards of Living
While the costs of children are an important factor in determining support, they are just one factor, since the goal of these guidelines is not to provide the non-custodial parent's share of the costs of raising children, as commonly thought. Rather, the guidelines aim to equalize the living standard of the households of the custodial and non-custodial parents after divorce, providing both spousal and child support, under the auspices of child support. In January 1995, the Department of Justice produced prototypes of child support guidelines pursuant to the principle of the equal standards of living for both former spouses. Three key assumptions underlay these prototypes: that the Statistics Canada
40/30 scale represents the cost of children; that both spouses have the same income after divorce; and that the non-custodial parent has the same costs or needs as a single person.
None of these assumptions are correct. First, as has been shown above, the Statistics
Canada 40/30 scale almost certainly overestimates the cost of children. Secondly, spouses rarely have the same income after divorce.62 Both sexes, if not remarried, experience large declines in household income, with women faring considerably worse than men.63 However, remarried spouses of both sexes have increased household incomes after divorce.64 And thirdly, as previously discussed, non-custodial parents have costs or needs more closely approximating the custodial parent than a single person. Thus none of the assumptions of the guidelines were based on fact. Despite these problems with assumptions, the proposed guidelines estimated support amounts needed to equalize standards of living based on the following conceptual equation:65

For example, using a gross income of $50,000 for the father, which by assumption is also the income of the mother, one child, custody to the mother, the Statistics Canada 40/30 scale as a measure of the needs of the mother and a single person as a measure of the needs of the father, we get the following:66

If the taxes of both the father and mother can be calculated, this equation can be solved for the amount of child support using only the income of the non-custodial parent. The term "child support" here would be more properly called child and spousal support, or just plain support, since the money, according to the theory underlying the guidelines, is for equalizing the standard of living of the two households. Equalizing the standard of living involves both the spouse and the children. Indeed, the lion's share of the support payment would theoretically be for spousal support, since the needs of the adult exceed that of the child or children, except in large families.

The Canadian child support guidelines were developed with the goal of increasing the amounts of support awards, because of social science evidence that much of women's and children's poverty was the result of low support awards upon divorce. This clearly defined problem had an unambiguous solution: increased amounts of child support. Unfortunately, the research findings supporting this paradigm were flawed and likely caused the overlooking of important research findings during the development of the guidelines. In particular, the developers of the child support guidelines disregarded the fact that the system in place prior to the guidelines, whereby judges awarded support, was on the whole satisfactory to the protagonists and produced reasonable economic outcomes for divorced families. The guidelines, as implemented, contain not only child support, but spousal support and overestimate expenditures on children. None of the key assumptions that underlie the new support formulas are based on fact. The Canadian Child Support Guidelines produce too many inequitable situations and do not provide a practical way for these inequities to be corrected. In addition, they unfairly target the poor and working classes, in an attempt to circumvent the progressive taxation system.

The system does not respond easily to changes in circumstance, and issues like the desirability of a parental relation are ignored. While support awards may not be a major cause of women's and children's poverty, the problem of poverty remains a serious one. Too many Canadians and especially too many Canadian children are poor. However, the solution to this problem does not, in all probability, lie with child support. Future research should target tactics more likely to succeed.

What Were They Thinking?
The Development of Child Support Guidelines in Canada.
Paul Millar
University of Calgary
Anne H. Gauthier
University of Calgary
Copyright © Paul Millar and Anne Gauthier 2000