Monday, October 27, 2008

Are Canada's Child Support Guidelines Unfair to "Second" Families?

A raging debate has been brewing among our readers at Wise Law Blog.

Should Canada's Child Support Guidelines consider the expenses of raising children of subsequent relationships in determining child support obligations for first families?

The extensive comments at our post, Supreme Court of Canada to Child Support Payors: Income Increases Must be Disclosed will illustrate the competing arguments in this highly charged discussion:

Maybe before bashing your husband's ex wife for receiving payments for her child as per the law, you should have thought of that before having more children with this man who seems to have a problem with supporting his first child, secondly his 1st child should have the lifestyle she had before his or her parents split up because it was not her fault at all in any of this, so why should she suffer because you decided to hook up with a man and bear more of his children, you should have thought of that before marrying him or having more children if you are complaining about the amount he is paying.

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I can't tell you how sick I am of people saying "well maybe your husband shouldn't have had more kids if he couldn't afford them" I am mad as %^%$ about this. These people are obviously NOT in the system, or on the receiving end of the money, for whom it is NEVER enough. When I married my husband and had kids with him, he paid 500/month in child support. He now pays 1300/month. Was I to look into a glass ball and predict the future? Did I know the Custodial mother would quit her job and make us pay 100% of extra-ordinary expenses? Did I know she would move across the country and make us pay 3600/year in flights? Did I ever see my husbands taxes and see that this money is actually AFTER TAX money and he gets no tax breaks for having sent her all that money? You people should be ashamed of yourselves, REAL children are growing up in POVERTY....

In my view, there are compelling reasons to call for additional legislative flexibility as to the quantum of support payable under the Guidelines in clear circumstances where the financial well-being of the children of a later relationship is genuinely compromised by a parent's onerous child support obligations to a first family.

The law of child support should be predictable and standardized, to the extent possible. This was, and remains, the great strength of the Guideline system.

The financial resources of support-payors, however, are often limited, if not entirely strapped. The pie must be shared more fairly.

Support-paying parents have a legal and moral obligation to provide financially for the children of their "second" families.

The Guidelines should not be blind to these responsibilities.

Too often, they are.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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