Among other things, the province plans to double the maximum jail penalty from 90 days to 180, suspend defaulters’ hunting and fishing licences, and post notices identifying “deadbeats” on public websites.
The bill was introduced with a “Backgrounder” press release, spewing out statistics apparently intended to justify the new measures. Unfortunately, the statistics bear no discernable connection to the proposals. For instance, we’re told that the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) has 185,574 active cases, up 45 percent from 1994. We’re also told what percentage of cases are in full compliance (34 percent) or partial compliance (another 34 percent). We’re even told how many telephone calls the FRO answered (and didn’t answer!) in six months. However, none of these figures has any significance, policy-wise.
The statistics that might really have been useful were missing: for instance, whether case loads and compliance have been affected by the major policy changes of May, 1997—i.e., the introduction of the child support guidelines and the abolition of tax deductions for support payments. As a family law practitioner, I believe these changes greatly increased the net cost for most payers. Is this more onerous burden reflected in higher default rates?
Also strangely absent from the Backgrounder’s statistics is any reference to the results that the province has achieved to date by sending defaulters to jail. What percentage of “deadbeats” have been paying up after spending 30 days in the slammer? After 60 days? After 90 days? Could the FRO have drawn a graph showing that the more days someone spends in jail, the more likely he is to pay?
On the contrary, it seems intuitively obvious that there would be an inverse relationship between length of sentence and subsequent compliance. Sitting in jail tends to prevent most people—except maybe drug dealers—from earning an income. The only purpose longer sentences might conceivably serve would be as stronger deterrents. But realistically, is there anyone who’d be deterred by 180 days who isn’t already deterred by 90?
there’s the “deadbeat” website proposal.
One year after the implementation of federal legislation
forcing every last
pushcart and lemonade stand to adopt policies to safeguard personal
anyone in the
According to an October, 2000 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 83 percent of custodial parents received some or all of their required child support when the other parent had joint custody. Seventy-three percent received some or all of their support when there were visiting rights but not joint custody. Only 35 percent received some or all of their required support when the other parent had neither joint custody nor visitation.
logical conclusion from the
there was the 1998 report “For the Sake of the Children” produced by
Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access.
It recommended abolishing the inflammatory
terms “custody” and “access” in favour of a system of shared parenting. The federal government hastily shelved the
report (ideology again?), but there’s nothing preventing