April 7, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Yesterday’s piece was about a Canadian father who advised other fathers about how to conduct themselves in family courts. Much of what he said was basic and sound; some was not. Among other things, he said that, when it comes to child support, he “rolls over and plays dead,” i.e. contests nothing.
Here’s Christie Blatchford’s latest article that, whether intentionally or not, answers that advice (National Post, 4/4/17).
Unlike Jeramey A., at least Rob R. is still alive. I suspect that’s in large part due to the efforts of his current wife. But however he’s managed it, Rob R. is yet another dad who’s been financially destroyed by the laws on child support. And, like Jeramey A., much of that is because he had income imputed to him that he doesn’t earn. He was half owner of a flooring business, but, when his wife divorced him, he had to sell his share of the business to make the court-ordered payments of child support and alimony. And that, said the court, constituted willful refusal to earn up to his potential. Ergo, the judge decided Rob could earn what he had when he owned part of the business instead of the $65,000 (gross) he actually earns.
Thus this 51-year-old man, who now earns about $65,000 a year (or about $5,400 a month before taxes) working on commission for a flooring company, continues to labour under the punitive family court decision from 2012 which ordered him to pay $6,866 a month in child and spousal support.
Of course the $5,400 he earns per month is pre-tax income. Subtract taxes and Rob owes his ex-wife about twice what he earns. So, how does he pay it? Well, for the most part, he doesn’t.
Inexorably, as surely as the sun rises in the east, he falls further and further behind, a typical downward descent for a man saddled with an unrealistic support order.
He now owes more than $500,000 in arrears, despite paying what he can monthly and occasional lump sums.
So a man who takes home about $4,000 per month owes over $500k. And of course every month, interest is added to that total, placing Rob R. in the unenviable category of men who, even when they pay what they owe every month, continue to fall further and further behind. In short, as things stand now, Rob will be paying his ex until the day he (or she) dies. And when he does, he’ll still owe her.
But that’s not the whole story by any means. For one thing, Rob isn’t the only person paying his ex. His wife Donna is too.
He and Donna have paid, over nine years of litigation, more than $600,000 to a succession of lawyers, as well as $18,000 for a child-custody assessment (the assessor eventually recommended the joint custody they always have had) and $24,000 for an evaluation of his former business.
That’s right, “he and Donna have paid.” Now Donna of course isn’t related to his child and took no part in the child’s conception. So neither Rob’s ex-wife nor the court has any moral hold on Donna or her income. But because she’s married to Rob and presumably doesn’t want to see him go to jail, she, like countless other second wives in her place, pays a portion of her salary in an effort to appease a punitive court and child support system.
Now, remember what Lucien Khodeir wrote on this blog four years ago.
According to the report, the Formula assumes that the child-support recipient (Recipient)
- earns whatever income the child-support payer (Payer) earns,
- spends all her time and the Payer spends no time with the child,
- incurs all child-related expenses and the Payer incurs no child-related expenses,
- spends a prescribed percentage of her income in child-related expenses, and
- resides only with the child and the Payer resides alone.
As I said two days ago, those assumptions are routinely wrong and so they are in Rob R.’s case.
His former wife, a teacher with the Toronto District School Board, has been back working full-time for two years; she earns an estimated $100,000 in pay and benefits.
So, while the guidelines say Rob’s ex earns what he earns, in fact, she earns about 54% more than he does. But the guidelines presume otherwise and are unchallengeable in court.
And sure enough, all the other assumptions about Rob’s situation turn out to be false. He has always had joint custody with his ex, meaning that he spends time with his child, pays certain daily expenses and at time resides with his child. The formula on which his child support is based ignores virtually all the reality of Rob’s situation. That, along with the imputation of income he doesn’t earn, constitute the major reason why Rob is currently $500,000 behind on his obligations to his ex and falling further behind every day.
Needless to say, the same provincial government that seems hell-bent on driving Rob to an early grave due to his ever-increasing debt, also does what it can to diminish his ability to pay.
Because he’s in arrears, with the Ontario government’s enforcement arm, the Family Responsibility Office garnishing his wages and ever-threatening to take more drastic steps — Rob once had his passport seized, and has been warned he may lose his driver’s licence — he can’t even claim the support payments as an income-tax deduction.
Congratulations, Canada! You’ve managed to utterly ruin a perfectly fine, upstanding citizen and his wife!
Rob and Donna have sold everything both of them owned just to survive — his 50-per-cent share of the flooring business, his home, their pensions and even her beloved cottage (location of a memorial to her late sister).
They now share a house with his parents as paying tenants (and half the time with Rob’s kids) and have a basement unit with a paying tenant.
And all because of the false claims of feminists in academia and elsewhere that divorce damages women’s earnings. Irony anyone? Again, let’s be clear; child support and alimony laws aren’t about caring for children. They’re about transferring as much money as possible from men to women. Rob R. will go to his grave doing just that.
National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization
National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved? Here’s how:
Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.
#childsupport, #alimony, #suicide, #bankruptcy