Reduce child support enough that it's realistic - Ontario, Canada
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While I am not too familiar with the past laws of this country, I do know that Child Support used to be taxable income. The payor would be able to claim this on their taxes while the recipient would have to declare it as income. However, this is currently not the case.
When a relationship with children breaks down, the children are more affected than imaginable. The parents become bitter with each other (more often than not) and it becomes a financial and custodial battle. While the court's ensure the children's best interests are at heart, this is not always the case.
There have been many petitions for parental alienation but the one that I had signed for Canada has been cancelled - https://www.change.org/p/kathleen-wynne-stop-parental-alienation-5571075d-1c69-48a4-8a79-58143fa6dc50/u/14008686
It is my belief that these two issues may often fall hand in hand so I might take it upon myself to reintroduce the parental alienation ban. While I am not hopeful I will see changes in my case, I hope that it prevents such abuse to continue beyond our generations.
There are two types of parents - one is a loving and doting parent who actually wants to spend time with their children. The other is the kind that wants nothing to do with their children and makes them the cause for all the problems in their life.
It is my strong belief that the children need their biological parents in their lives no matter what. Maybe the visiting or non-custodial parent requires supervision or therapy but access should not be denied against their will. While I am unable to provide supporting references (since it is my opinion based on own personal research and experiences), children should have both of their parents equally involved in their lives until they are at least 11 years old. Before this age, it is very difficult for them to distinctly remember what happened. Honestly, how far back can you remember in your childhood?
In my personal case I lost custody and my controlling ex has resorted to not only alienating the children from me, but having me hospitalized and diagnosed with a mental illness which has also affected my credibility at work. The courts have granted him access to not only my financial information but my medical records. If I am not seeing or speaking to my children which, according to my ex, is their opinion, then how is it fair that I provide my ex with this information?
In Canada, if you are seeing the children less than 40% of the time, of which you have no control over because the courts make the final order, you are ordered to pay child support as the visiting or non-custodial parent.
In this example, I will use round numbers to outline how it works in Ontario:
If you are making an income of say $50,000 which is approx $4000/mth BEFORE tax it works out to be approx $35,000 AFTER tax which is $2800/mth. You can determine your tax brackets here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html#federal
For one child it is 15% of your income AFTER tax (which is the only number that really matters because that is what we use to survive) for one child. The more children you have the less the percentage.
You are welcome to discover what you would be liable for based on your current income and number of children using this calculator: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fl-df/child-enfant/look-rech.asp
While going through the legal battle of filing for a divorce and finalizing custody and assets, you have to disclose your income and expenditure. Page 3 of this form baffles my mind: http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/static/media/uploads/courtforms/family/13/flr-13-e.pdf
You are required to basically share your budget yet your answers have no bearing on the amount that you are required to pay. While disclosing your income could also indicate that the custodial parent makes considerably more, BUT this doesn't lessen the amount you pay.
You can, however, make a claim for undue hardship BUT I was told by my lawyer that it is extremely difficult to prove this: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/child-enfant/rp/v2/v2_4.html
I was told by my lawyer that the child support's purpose is to cover expenses for the child such as, but not exclusive to, food, shelter and clothing. There is a likelihood that the custodial parent tries to claim support for extracurricular activities, which would increase this amount even more.
My questions then are:
Who is paying for the children's expenses while they are with the visiting or non-custodial parent?
If the visiting or non-custodial parent is making smart financial decisions such as investing in the child's future, such as real estate, why wouldn't that be taken into consideration?
Why are the court's deeming that support for the children is more important than the TIME that you are fighting for?
God forbid, anything happen to your children such as an injury causing lifetime disability or even death, who will be held responsible for the expenses?
I used to work at Ontario Court of Justice and my heart bled for the payors in most cases because, while they were mostly African males, I could not assume their circumstances but the fact that they were filing papers asking for custody proved that they cared.
Once child support is ordered the paperwork goes to the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) where they begin to deduct payments from your account based upon what was ordered, which could include retroactive payments from previous years or months as well.
If your income is reduced FRO will continue to deduct the payments months after they have received notification of such change.
The repercussions of not paying your child support include prison, driver's license or passport suspension or withholding of any government funds owed to you: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fl-df/enforce-execution/pwo-pqp.html
As a result, I have seen and heard it with my own two eyes that the payor will go to such extremes as to quit their job, move in with their parents and maybe even only accept cash jobs to avoid paying support. They are putting themselves in an even worse situation for their children. What kind of example is that?
I strongly believe that since you can never compensate for the time you lose with your children, the courts should be making it their focus to ensure that custody is equally shared or agreed upon before enforcing child support.
In my case, my ex lives with his parents and claims he makes $13/hour working part-time at a retail store, he also collects disability and tax benefits for the children and is also seeking child support. He will actually be making more than me when he does much less!!
When he is in contempt of court it is very hard for me to get a judgement against him, especially without a lawyer. How can I afford a lawyer?
I do not want to use this as an avenue to vent about my personal situation but I do want to highlight certain examples since you may be able to relate.
If parents didn't see eye to eye to maintain their relationship, how likely is it that they will cooperate after their breakup?
Please take the time to share and sign this petition. While you may not be experiencing this situation right now, you will never know what the future holds.
Thank you :)
Recommendations to change undue hardship to include:
In UK, it is my understanding that you can negotiate a reasonable amount with your ex-spouse (https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance which is something that may be an option here too.
Mandatory and reasonably priced mediation.
Assessments ordered for one party to be made for the other too.
Mandatory involvement of the Office of the Children's Lawyer for all children under the age of 11 years old.
Counselling for the children and parents.
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