C-41 and its impact on Custodial Mothers and Co-parenting

  1. Custodial Mothers have been promised a 30-60% increase in child support by the press coverage leading up to bill C-41. Net child support will actually drop under C- 41. (letter from Finance Minister Paul Martin, Oct. 2, 1996.)
  2. Ontario government figures show yearly increases in child support to custodial mothers of 23-33%, yet Revenue Canada figures show yearly increases in support received by custodial mothers of only 3.36% (1991-92). Alberta Government Maintenance support show yearly double-digit percentage increases, yet, like in Ontario, this money is not going to women or their children. We need a study to determine where this money is going and why children's interests are not being respected.
  3. Increased taxation of child support will reduce child support to the average custodial mother.
  4. C-41 discourages custodial mothers from taking employment, since this could lose custody with subsequent loss of her earnings.
  5. Discourages shared custody, which often is a custodial mother's route out of poverty by giving her time to go to school, upgrade skills or engage in employment.
  6. Discourages re-marriage by custodial mothers since the new step father may be targeted by C-41 for child support on the children.
  7. Shared parenting alternative increasingly attractive to mothers. Joint custody grew steadily as follows:
    Joint custody
    TotalIf parents file jointly for divorce

    * Source: Statistics Canada, Divorces 1992, Table 8, Catalogue No 84-213

  8. Left to themselves, parents who have mediated their differences and are educated on the problems of adversarial divorce and parental alienation tend to share child care in the range of 1/3 - 2/3, and make reasonable financial adjustments to make this work. Shared or joint parenting is more satisfactory to both parents and children. Mothers have greater opportunity to seek employment, training and are relieved of much of the burden of parenting.
  9. C-41 discourages joint parenting since no adjustment for the amount of parenting.
  10. C-41 encourages fights over issues of amount of parenting by making huge financial impacts based on tiny variations in child care. According to Carolina Gilliberti, Justice Canada head of family Law Research, C-41 support tables would be the same for any parent doing less than 50% of child care. This care is measured in "sleepovers" Since there is only 365 sleepovers in a year, it is impossible for both parents to do exactly 50% of care in any one year. parents are encourages to fight over that last indivisible sleepover.

Conclusion: a study of the impact of C-41 on custodial mothers and their children is necessary before implementing this legislation.

Report prepared by
Single Fathers' Network and FatherCraft Canada,
73 Eccles Street, Ottawa K1R 6S5
Tel: (613) 238-3208 Fax: (613)238-3491
E-Mail mencan@comnet.ca