Dec 18, · Andrew Solomon is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture, and psychology. His latest book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (), won the National Book. Spezialisiert auf Hygienelösungen mit Schwerpunkt Hygienepapier.
Men earn more than women on average and women tend to make bigger sacrifices to their earning potential in order to play a bigger role in the family. The courts only seek to redress the balance. Another reason for people to assess potential costs before getting involved with a partner is the high probability the union will fail.
There were 69, divorces in , down considerably from the high levels of the mids, but up 2. In fact, about That's pretty close to one in two. With such high chances your marriage will tank, it is almost silly not to prepare for the possibility from the outset. The totals do not include the number of people who have kids together without getting married. And those costs can be high. But, according to Heft , there are some economic pitfalls you can avoid when choosing your mate.
For example, traditional marriages - those in which the wife stays home to raise the children - can be prohibitively expensive. That's because in the event of a breakup, the husband would not only likely have to pay child support and alimony, but also a premium to compensate the wife for her lost earning power due to the years she spent at home. Similarly, a woman who became the breadwinner for the family while the husband stayed home to take care of the children would also likely have to pay alimony and child support if the father took custody of the children.
One good tool to calculate potential child-support payments is a software called Aliform, which was developed using the Quebec government's child-support determination guidelines.
Just punch in key data such as your and your ex's earnings, the number of children involved, and which parent has custody, and bang, out comes a number. Heft uses a test case to give a demonstration. She tells him she is pregnant and she will let him know in a month or two about whether or not she will keep the baby. That's in after-tax dollars and does not include ancillary expenses such as daycare, sporting activities and braces.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to not get married unless you absolutely must, Heft said. OTTAWA—Family law experts say a Supreme Court of Canada ruling yesterday makes clear that divorce is still a "no-fault" affair, even if the warring spouses don't see it that way. But in what lawyers say is an important clarification, the country's highest court declared the Divorce Act does not stop a judge from considering the emotional devastation wreaked by a marriage breakdown when deciding whether to order a cheater to pay spousal support to a jilted partner.
In practical terms, the decision is likely to affect less than 20 per cent of the roughly 71, divorce cases a year in Canada.
That's because most divorced couples manage to sort out the separation of their affairs, and spousal support orders are made in less than a fifth of divorces. Child support orders take precedence over alimony. Gary Leskun's lawyer Lorne MacLean said it's possible the ruling could open a "back door" for some to play a blame game. It will depend on how the lower courts interpret that," he told reporters. MacLean suggested if "consequences" matter, then it might be open to an individual to argue that his misconduct was a "consequence" of some action by the other spouse.
Many family lawyers and academics said yesterday courts would take a dim view of that. Still, Montreal family lawyer Andrew Heft welcomed the ruling, saying it gives important clarity to an area of law that right now is "a twilight zone where it's not clear. This judgment just recognizes that unfaithfulness can have emotional consequences.
It clarifies something which the courts have been struggling with and I think it's an important decision," said Heft. An estimated 10 to 20 per cent of divorce cases involve spousal support orders or agreements, many of which do not call for payments over the long-term, according to professor Rollie Thompson of Dalhousie Law School, who is an adviser to the federal government on spousal support.
In Sherry Leskun's case, those other factors — age, lack of formal education and poor job prospects, family troubles and poor health — weighed heavily. In fact, the Supreme Court of Canada indicated the reason it granted Leskun leave to appeal was to deal with a statement in the B. Court of Appeal judgment that many saw as re-introducing the concept of "fault" into "no-fault" divorce.
The amendments to the Divorce Act said courts can't consider marital misconduct when deciding support payments. A break-up such as the Leskuns will "perhaps inevitably precipitate a period of shock and emotional trauma for the jilted spouse," wrote Justice Ian Binnie. Still, Binnie said there is a difference between the emotional consequences of misconduct and the misconduct itself. Binnie said achieving self-sufficiency is not a legal "duty" of the person seeking support.
It is up to a judge to figure out if the claim of incapacity is credible. For that, it's "highly desirable" but not essential for someone to present concrete evidence. Binnie shrugged off the warnings that "legal tsunami" of applications will swamp the courts as a result of this interpretation. Gary Leskun, 52, is re-married and has another child. He is working again and living in an unidentified U.
The court's ruling was a deeply personal victory for Sherry Leskun and ironic in view of her successful claim she was debilitated because the Vancouver woman represented herself at the B. She could not afford to travel to Ottawa for the February hearing, and argued via video teleconference. The high court named an amicus curiae or "friend of the court" to ensure the broad legal issues were canvassed.
The Supreme Court of Canada will decide if divorced people must boost their child-support payments as soon as their incomes rise, or if they are only obliged to pay higher support when their ex-spouses find out about their increased incomes and sue in court. Millions of dollars hinge on the highly contentious question that affects thousands of divorced couples across the country, lawyer Deidre Smith said. The courts concluded those amounts represented the shortfall between the support the men actually paid for their children, and what they ought to have been paying under the federal child-support guidelines, based on their incomes.
Yesterday, the high court granted the men permission to appeal. Should the top court side with recipient parents, who are usually mothers, Smith estimated "that if every parent that this case applied to moved to change their support retroactively in court , hundreds of thousands of dollars would change hands in Canada, and over the long haul it would be millions. The law has been cloudy for months because appellate courts across the land have issued conflicting opinions.
In its groundbreaking quartet of rulings last January, the Alberta Court of Appeal sent a strong message that retroactive child-support awards should be more the rule than the exception in cases where support payers fail to share their increased income with their children in a timely way. In many provinces, retroactive awards are available only in cases where the payer engages in blameworthy conduct, such as misstating his or her income.
The issue confronting parents is largely the fault of the federal and provincial governments. The federal child-support guidelines explicitly state that a support recipient may ask in writing each year for the payer to make financial disclosure.
But if the payer refuses, the recipient must go to court to fight the issue. The federal child-support guidelines were designed to be accompanied in each province by a child-support services agency that would automatically require updated income information from payers each year, and then automatically update the amount of support as necessary. But because of cost concerns, not a single province has created such an agency.
Quebec, however, did sign on to the federal guidelines in , according to Montreal-based divorce lawyer Andrew Heft. He added that the guidelines can also be applied to those cases that were decided before May 1, This Supreme Court case could affect Quebec if judges decide the federal guidelines, which use tax returns to calculate child-support payments and then notify debtors of the adjustments made, are unfair. Fathers fight for rights: Long before extreme publicity stunts became standard practice for fathers' rights activists, Steve Osborne embarked on a cross-Canada journey, parading in front of the country's courthouses wearing a flowery dress.
He carried a placard that read: Today, Osborne is national co-ordinator of the Canadian chapter of Fathers 4 Justice, a brash British group whose members made headlines by donning superhero costumes to scale Buckingham Palace and pelted Prime Minister Tony Blair with a flour-filled condom.
In Montreal, Fathers 4 Justice members made a splash last month. Fathers' rights activists say the courts discriminate against dads, unfairly favouring moms in custody battles in divorces and common-law break-ups. They want the law changed to force judges to presume shared custody is the best choice, barring evidence to the contrary. But fathers' groups get little backing from legal experts and divorce lawyers.
Some of their gripes were valid 10 years ago, these observers say. But emphasis has since shifted radically so that today, fathers willing and able to care for children can and do get custody. If a father fails to get custody, there's usually a good reason, they say.
Mediation is also increasingly helping avoid bitter custody battles. The past years have seen major changes in how society views children's relationships to their parents, says Nicholas Bala, a Queen's University law professor who has studied the evolution of family law. In the 19th century, dads were considered their children's owners. Then, for most of the last century, moms almost always won custody. But beginning in the s and accelerating in the s, judges have increasingly been basing decisions on the child's "best interests," with an emphasis on shared custody.
It's easy to lose sight of the fact that in most break-ups, custody is not a contentious issue. In about 80 per cent of cases in Canada, the two parents come to an amicable agreement, says lawyer Michel Tetrault, a Universite de Sherbrooke professor and expert on custody issues and statistics.
Canada's source for research, media monitoring and company information. In the other 20 per cent of cases, judges end up deciding. Back in the mids, judges opted for sole mother custody in about 80 per cent of cases, sole father custody in 10 per cent and joint custody in the rest.
Today, shared custody is the favoured recipe in 60 per cent of cases, Tetrault says. Moms get sole custody 30 per cent of the time and fathers in 10 per cent of cases. Father activists, however, point to other stats they say prove men are being wronged. They note that, overall, 80 per cent of kids from broken homes now live with their moms. They say that's partly because fathers acquiesce after being warned they can't win in court.
The father is more distant but his role is just as important. A mother nurses the baby and puts him to bed but "the father wasn't out at the tavern during this time; he was taking care of his family in other ways - as a guide to the child rather than as a caregiver - but that part of parenting is ignored by the courts.
Most men who seek help from L'Apres-rupture "are frustrated and discouraged because they want reasonable access to their children," Boucher says. It doesn't make sense - I'm not their uncle, I'm their father. Dads and kids can't bond if they only meet two weekends a month, he says: Third Cabinet of Andreas Papandreou. Minister for National Defence of Greece.
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It should not come as a big surprise that women get awarded money more often than men, and often, win child-custody battles.
In most cases, mom isn't to blame. Nothing screams 'divorce' more than lawn chairs in the kitchen and a mid-life crisis car in the driveway.