Change child support, spousal support and parenting policy in Canada!
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Support the motivated, hard-working parents and give them some financial help to allow them to have time with their children and be a good parent.
Please don't mistake this as pro non-payment petition. I want to make a fair and reasonable payment structure and system that promotes ownership and responsibility for both parents. A fair structure may also help reduce the desire for some to hide or cheat the system.... from both sides.
The current spousal child support structure and support tables, penalizes the hard working parent and rewards the non-working, unmotivated, parents. In higher income situations, the working parent is forced to live in small accommodations, work long hours, or work out of town to maintain support, forcing them to give up their shared parenting rights.
To reduce court costs and battles, there should be a very simple default program with some added resources in CRA, MEP, and child services to help separated families in these difficult times, reducing court time and lawyer fees;
1. Parents will automatically share custody of children equally unless there is proven reason that one parent is not fit to do so.
2. Income of working parent will be IMMEDIATLEY adjusted to reflect his or her needs/requirements to be a shared parent under these new conditions. (taking on different roles, jobs, working locally, taking kids to appointments, school, etc) If a person typically worked a lot of variable pay, such as overtime, then this Overtime or bonuses as like, which they now will have earned on their own time, with no help from their ex, should no longer be included in their calculated salaries when estimating support payments. As a shared parent, their extra earned income which they gave up personal time for, can now be used with/on their children at their discretion, giving them some warranted hard earned child support for themselves and their shared parenting duties, which the current system does not allow. This will significantly reduce the burden on the higher income parent to give up his/her custody to make more money. Too many times, the higher income earners who have the ability to work variable pay hours (overtime) are forced to work more hours and live in small living quarters in order to "maintain" their pre-separation salaries....forcing them to lose their parenting time.
The system is quick to demand “retro” pay as soon as an extra dollar is earned, but there is nothing there to help out the payor when they don’t make the money they used to. How often does the low income earner pay retro to compensate? NEVER!
Variable pay should not be allowed when calculating spousal or child support. It was through the extra hours of work and free time devoted from one parent and is not acceptable to reward the other parent who has not worked those hours. See example later.
3. If the higher income earning spouse tries to work regular hours, or part time, to be a full time parent every other week, they are forced to survive a full year with virtually no money as their support payments were based on previous historical higher variable pay incomes. All while the non-working or low income spouse is taking in more money, receiving tax and child credits and living a better life. Its debilitating, severely depressing, unfair and has to stop happening to our hard working, honest parents!!
Stop and think about this... We force our children into the hands of the unmotivated parent while the role model, hard working parent is forced to lose time with them and keep working harder.
4. If the spouses are maintaining 50/50 shared parenting, then the payor should pay 50% of child support guidelines. This should be a simple understanding.
5. If a parent decides or believes that they should not work full time, as to their abilities, then sharing incomes is no longer 50/50. If one parent, who makes less money only wants to work 1000 hrs a year, then he or she is only entitled to use/calculate half of the other parents income for support calculation purposes. This would extrapolate to zero support if one parent chooses not to work. Particularly when the other parent can work full time and share parenting time 50%. This should not be arguable. Especially for 50/50 parenting; it is not fair to expect one parent to work full time while the other sits around on a holiday getting paid. Setting some lofty expectations for the less motivated spouses should also help them understand what is expected of them after divorce and that it is not a retirement party, as some have done. In Canada, everyone can work 2000 hrs a year. Even with minor disabilities. There is no excuse as there are jobs everywhere! No work, equals no entitled support money.
6. One parent should not automatically and immediately claim children as dependants. The higher income earner who is earning or working for their own child support and paying their spouse child support should be entitled to claim their children as dependants. But the system does the opposite. This is now a CRA tax windfall which immediately takes more money from separated families, particularly from the higher income/harder working parent.
7. Child support under $500/month should be non-deductible. Anything above that should be deductible from the payor and included as income for the payee. This year, my ex received ~$30,000 in taxable alimony and over $40,000 in child support. However, since her “income” is at the "$30,000/yr" mark (as child support does not count as income), she was entitled to Child, tax and income benefits from the government which totaled ~$14,000. She will be taking home ~$90,000 tax free all while I am fighting with CRA to get my alimony deducted and receiving no other government benefits. If I succeed fighting with CRA and receive my alimony deduction, I will take home ~$54,000. I work full time and my ex barely works at all while holding a teaching degree. Parenting is shared 50/50. How does this happen??
Another example; As of now, any overtime worked in the highest tax bracket results in my ex getting entitled to all of that money AND more, next year. So if I work extra hours and make another $10,000, after tax I receive ~ $5,500. Next year support payments increase ~$400 (based on support tables) because of this “income” increase. In addition, because the income is higher than the previous year, I can be on the hook in the new year for “retroactive” pay from the year when the overtime was worked. By the letter of the law, I would be paying $800 more a month for the next year because I worked those extra hours. Of course, if half is alimony, 44% is deductible, so I would get 44% of 400/month or $190/month back, so net payed out will be $610/month for at least 12 months, totalling $7320. So I will have ended up working the extra 100+ hours only to give away another $1820, that I don’t have, to my ex!!!
8. Low income earners must prove lack of spousal or child support payments to the Government Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) in order to support claims of lack of support. Their bank statements, or valid proof (or lack of, from the payor) must be submitted showing the missing monthly support payment before MEP garnishes wages automatically just on one person’s word. MEP garnishment must also be given at least one month’s notice and the offer for the Payor to contest or argue the reason for the missing payment. Putting some resources in this MEP system to support it will go a long ways in keeping everyone out of the courts and keep single income earning parents from becoming devastated from unjust garnishment!! (which happened to me personally)
9. Both parents get working immediately or there are consequences. Financial, custodial, or both. Divorces must be clearly enforced on this, without question; thiswill also help motivate those who think that they don't have to try in their marriage and manipulate higher income earners into getting what they want...."or else."
For these situations, Social support payments such as the Child benefit should defer to dayhome support to help support the non working single parent to get working. Again, especially when parenting is shared equally.
10. No parent shall railroad parenting time. If one parent has to work out of town unexpectedly for a few weeks, when they return, they will be given their missed parenting time immediately! This is not to be argued, or fought for with Lawyers or Court. It has to written as letter of the law!! Any abuse of this and it shall be reported to child services and/or police!
This clarity in personal support expectations will also help motivate those who think they just need to be married to have a financial future. We need to get everyone thinking about how to support themselves in the future long before the wedding! It will also motivate the unmotivated in wed relationships to do their fair share and not take advantage of the hard working spouse!
Marriages are no longer cherished or respected. The extremely unbalanced yield of power given to those who expect everything to be handed to them is now a devastating mental and financial abuse burden struck against those who are giving, caring and hardworking.
Equality is required for all parents, both men and women. In the past, the system used to allow for child support deductions/claims, but now has now swung violently the other way, paving the road for anyone without a heart to tear apart their spouse until they break down, give up custody, or both. In many cases, the paying spouse is so distraught, they are led down a path of desperation and suicide.
I am begging that we make this system better and fair for both parties; set the bar for expectations to work, properly account for real net money/income flowing into both homes (including child support and government subsidies) and hopefully make the grass less green for those who don’t want to put any effort into their marriage or a job.
We now live a system where the low income earner can utter divorce threats and have their hard working spouse shaking in their boots. There is an unfair and wicked power in the hands of those that prey on the honest and hard working and it has to stop.
Hard working, now low income, single dad.
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