BC Fathers

I have been asked several times about the proportions of men receiving custody in divorce. And the stats from the Ministry of Justice. For abunch of reasons its actually a fairly important question. And harder to answerthan it appears. 


First of all, how many men get custody:

 Percent of Male Custody and Joint Custody by Income

1) total numberof cases with children

2) percent ofcases with sole custody

3) percent ofcases with joint custody

4) total percentof cases with male sole custody and joint custody

 Claimed Gross Income  1  2  3  4

  0.0 – 29.9

263

1.5

14.4

16.0

30.0 – 59.9

302

6.3

25.8

32.1

60.0 – 89.9

224

4.9

33.4

37.9

90.0 – 119.9

 66

9.1

42.4

51.5

120.0 – 149.9

 39

10.3

30.8

41.1

 Over 150 K

92

3.3

42.4

45.7

Total Cases

987

4.8

27.3

32.0




Percent of Female Custody and Joint Custodyby Income

 Claimed Gross Income  1  2  3  4

  0.0 – 29.9

434

59.7

30.2

89.9

30.0 – 59.9

231

57.5

33.8

91.3

60.0 – 89.9

72

55.6

34.7

90.3

90.0 – 119.9

15

66.7

33.3

100.0

120.0 – 149.9

1

100.0

0.0

100.0

 Over 150 K

12

58.3

33.3

91.6

Total Cases

772

59.7

31.0

90.7

 

 

 I hope that is simple enough. Column 1 shows the number of cases. Column 2 shows the % who got sole custody. For men thats about 5 %, andits clearly related to income. For women its about 60 % and does not appear to be related to income ( despite the single high case in the 120 - 150K bracket ). Which may be significant as showing different criteria are used for men and women. I note a man earning less than 30 K only has a 1.5% chance of sole custody compared to over 5 % for higher income men, and 60 % forwomen earning under 30 K. Column 3 shows the percent of joint custodies. 27 %of men got joint custody. Joint custody is also dependent on income formen. Men earning under 30 K only get joint custody 14.4 % of the time but men earning over 90 K get joint custody more like 40 % of the time. It is notdependent on income for women. They get joint custody almost 1/3 of the time.Column 4 is the total of columns 2 and 3. It is the percent odds of getting either joint or sole custody. 16 % for men earning under 30 K and closer to 45% for men earning over 90 K. Overall men have around a 30 % chance of retaining some sort of custody of their children. Women have a 90 % chance.

 You may note that mens odds of sole custody are pretty slim.Most men who retain parental status are joint custodial ( 5 % vs 27 % ). A closer look at joint custodial court rulings is needed.

 

Joint and Split Custody

un – jointcustody but unstated as to consent or litigated

  n - total cases with consent and litigation stated

 C – total cases with joint custody on consent

C/L – totalcases originally with joint custody on consent and subsequently litigated

 L - total cases with joint custody only litigated

% L – percent of cases with joint custody only litigated

 Claimed gross income  men
 un  n  C  C/L  L  %L  







  0.0 – 9.9


 

12

7

3

2

   13 / 36

   36.1 %

10.0 – 19.9

_ 1

8

4

1

3

20.0 – 29.9

_ 1

16

8

0

8

30.0 – 39.9

23

12

2

9

21 / 77

   27.3 %

40.0 – 49.9

24

12

3

9

50.0 – 59.9

30

18

9

3

60.0 – 69.9

_ 1

36

23

4

9

15 / 72

   20.8 %

70.0 – 79.9

_ 2

24

19

2

3

80.0 – 89.9

_ 1

12

9

0

3

90.0 – 99.9

13

9

1

3

9 / 28

32.1 %

15 / 74

20.2 %

100.0 – 109.9

7

4

0

3

110.0 – 119.9

8

5

0

3

120.0 – 129.9

_ 2

3

3

0

0

0 / 9

0.0 %

130.0 – 139.9

_ 2

2

2

0

0

140.0 – 149.9

4

4

0

0

 Over 150 K

_ 1

37

31

0

6

   16.2 %





Total

_ 11

259

170

25

64

24.2 %


 

 Claimed gross income (1000's $)  Women  








 un  n  C  C/L  L  %L

  0.0 – 9.9

_ 1

53

32

2

19

37 / 127

 29.1 %

10.0 – 19.9

_ 2

41

25

6

10

20.0 – 29.9

33

22

3

8

30.0 – 39.9

28

20

2

6

18 / 73

 24.7 %

40.0 – 49.9

_ 1

30

20

0

10

50.0 – 59.9

_ 1

15

12

1

2

60.0 – 69.9

_ 2

10

8

0

2

  3 / 22

 13.6 %

70.0 – 79.9

8

7

0

1

80.0 – 89.9

4

4

0

0

90.0 – 99.9

2

2

0

0

1 / 4

25.0 %

1 / 7

14.3 %

100.0 – 109.9

2

1

0

1

110.0 – 119.9

0

0

0

0

120.0 – 129.9

0

0

0

0

0 / 0

NA

130.0 – 139.9

0

0

0

0

140.0 – 149.9

0

0

0

0

 Over 150 K

3

3

0

0

   0.0 %


Total

_ 7

229

156

14

59

  25.7 %


In conclusion:

The ministry of justice says 40 % of cases get jointcustody. Which may even be true. The catch is that they include cases where thedivorcing spouses made a separation agreement and did not have to have courtappearances and actual judicial rulings. This is not clear from their data asthey refer to court rulings. The reason is that non litigated agreements mustbe signed by judges and are therefore part of the court records.

 My data is only from cases where ex spouses did have to make court appearances and get judges to rule on their issues. My data tells youwhat the government courts are actually ruling. When it comes to custody there are 3 types of rulings. There are fully litigated rulings where the spouses donot agree on joint custody, designated as L for litigated. There are rulings where they did once agree and have joint custody but at least one parent haschanged their mind and now wants sole custody, designated as C/L. And there arecase where they agree on joint custody and are litigating other things such as access or primary residence, ... Designated C for consent. So if you want toknow what judges are ruling then look at the L cases. And to a lesser degree the C/L cases.

 First of all from the bottom of column % L it can be seen only around 1/4 of joint custody awards are fully litigated. That rises to1/3 if you include the C/L ( once again, C/L are failed variations of existing joint custody orders ). So, 2/3 to 3/4 of joint custody court awards areactually on agreement and are not actually ruled on by judges. There is oneinteresting income phenomena. Low income men and women actually get litigated joint custody more often than higher income men and women. This is becausehigher incomes can afford to make agreements and purchase custody of their children, whereas low income men cannot and must litigate instead.

 Finally, consider the ministries claim of 40 % joint custody. If you are a divorcing man with children there are only 2 options. Youmake a custody agreement. Or go to court and get a custody ruling. If your ex agrees then you get some sort of custody and it is totally irrelevant whether99.999 % of other men do or don't get joint custody. Your odds are 100 %. Ifyour ex does not agree then you fit in category L of the joint custody charts above. You do not have a 40 % chance as it might seem from the governmentfigures.

 So what are the overall odds of getting some form of custody if your ex does not agree. Well my study has 987 fathers from column 1 of thefirst chart. And 64 got litigated joint custody as can be seen from the bottom row of column L on the male joint custody chart. But 170 were consent jointcustody cases ( bottom row of column L on the male joint custody chart ). Sot hats 64 / (987 - 170 ) = 7.8 %. And from the bottom row of column 2 ofthe very first male custody chart, men have a 4.8 % chance of sole custody ( aspreviously discussesd ). So men have a 4.8 + 7.8 = 12.6 % chance of remaining parents if their ex does not agree. About 6 % if they earn less than 30 K. Imight add that around 75 % of custodial males are net support payors comparedto about 1 % of custodial females. Which is why the females made theagreements.

 Its funny that the question how many men get custody is really fairly difficult to answer. Deceptive government stats certainly don'thelp much. I hope this overview gives you some insight into the various parameters.

 Peter Roscoe

 

Male sole custody may be even worse than thought.

Not only are around half the awards on consent, but a large number of the remaining ones are for the fathers children from a previous marriage. If you subtract those you are left with a bunch of incapacitated mothers who cannot care for kids, women who fled themarriage and children to take off with another man, women who were stripped of custody due to alienation, ...specialty cases, - not just regular people divorcing and dividing up the kids.

After reviewing over 300 joint custody cases I could try to sum it up in a one liner. ‘ Mom ain’t going to agree if it costs her financially so judges give her more than the law prescribes ‘. The generous laws for sole custody may thwart agreements for joint custody.

Perhaps itis worth trying to make a few points. The numbers point out where to look.

What happens if you are a divorcing man and earn less than 30 K and had to go to court?

Representation by Income

Child SupportOnly, Spousal Support Only, Combined Support, and Joint Support

 
 Claimed income (1000's $)
 Female recipients male payors 
 n represented by lawyer  self represented   n  represented by lawyer self represented 

   0.0 – 29.9

523

492  ( 93.7 % )

31  ( 6.3 % )

268

160 ( 58.9 % )

108 ( 40.3 % )

  30.0 – 59.9

242

216  ( 88.2 % )

 26  ( 10.7 % )

345

264  (74.8 % )

  81  ( 22.4 % )

  60.0 – 89.9 

  58

  55  ( 95.2 % )

  3  ( 5.2 % )

252

210 ( 81.8 % )

  42  ( 16.7 % )

  90.0 – 119.9

  14

  13  ( 92.1 % )

  1  ( 7.1 % )

  74

  64  ( 88.1 % )

  10  ( 13.5 % )

120.0 – 149.9

    1

   1  ( 100 % )

  0  ( 0.0 % )

  42

  39  ( 96.9 % )

    3  (  7.1 % )

 Over 150 K

    8

    8  ( 100 % )

  0  ( 0.0 % )

 104

101  ( 97.1 % )

    3  (  2.9 % )

All Cases

846

785 ( 92.8 % )

 61  ( 7.2 % )

1084

839  ( 77.4 % )

245  ( 22.6 % )

   

It doesn't start well. 40.3 %can’t afford a lawyer. Those who do manage are probably financially devastated by lawyer bills, regardless of the ruling. In other words between 1/8 and 1 /4 of all male litigants simply may not be able to afford to use this system. Even for those at higher income levels, cost may put severe constraints on their ability to participate fully.

Note the systemic inequity between men and women earning under 30 K. Women are entitled to free Legal Aid. legal Aid can be thought of as "seed money" or an investment by lawyers that creates more work, more litigation. More billable hours. 

Men earning under 30 K only get solecustody 1.5 % of the time and joint custody 14.4 % of the time. Those meager percentages may be grossly overstated for those who actually have to litigate the issue ( ie  those numbers include consent agreements ).

Percent of Male Custody and Joint Custody by Income


 Claimed gross income  total number of cases with children
 percent ofcases with sole custody
 percent ofcases with joint custody
 total percentof cases with male sole custody and joint custody

  0.0 – 29.9

263

1.5

14.4

16.0

30.0 – 59.9

302

6.3

25.8

32.1

60.0 – 89.9

224

4.9

33.4

37.9

90.0 – 119.9

 66

9.1

42.4

51.5

120.0 – 149.9

 39

10.3

30.8

41.1

 Over 150 K

92

3.3

42.4

45.7

Total Cases

987

4.8

27.3

32.0

Which leaves 84 % of men earning less than 30 K as non custodial and paying support.

So what happens to them:

All Non CustodialAwards

 

   periodic expenses    fixed expenses
 Payor's claimed Income  S.7 Expense  Imputed income    arrears  retroactive arrears  lump sum awards  cost penalty awards

   0.0 – 29.9

   32.9

   76.1

 

   42.7

    32.4

      4.7

   20.2

  30.0 – 59.9

   41.5

   30.9

 

   29.5

    39.6

      6.3

   20.7

  60.0 – 89.9

   41.2

   17.6

 

   24.3

    39.7

      4.4

   30.9

  90.0 – 119.9

   35.5

   25.8

 

     9.7

    67.7

      3.2

   35.5

120.0 – 149.9

   31.8

   27.2

 

   13.6

    54.5

      0.0

   27.3

 Over 150 K

   34.6

   28.8

 

     7.7

    57.7

      5.8

   32.7

 

All Cases

   37.3

   43.1

 

   29.4

    38.6

     5.0

   24.2

76.1 % of men are imputed to incomes they may hope to achieve. If they don’t achieve that imputed income then they are imprisoned, garnished, their property seized, dragged back into court for default and further penalized. It would appear that many don’t achieve the imposed government income targets since 42.7 % of awards are in arrears. 

If their circumstances do not improve then the result is as follows:

All NonCustodial  Support Awards 

   Gross Income
mean / median incomes in $ 1000’s
 Disposable income after support
(mean / median incomes in $ 1000’s)
 Disposable income after support and fixed costs
(mean / median incomes in $ 1000’s)

 Payors Claiming Less Than 30 K Income

213

   

    13.0 / 12.0

     

          4.6 / 6.6

      ( 7.8 ) / ( 1.9 )

Recipients Claiming Less Than 30 K Income

 

259

    

    10.8 / 10.0

    

         35.2 / 28.3

   

         83.7 / 37.0

If their circumstances do not improve then men earning less than 30 K are left with an average 4.6 K disposable income and a median 6.6 K disposable income. 

Many wouldn’t qualify for welfare or Legal Aid because they began with a mean /median gross income of 13.0 / 12.0 K. In contrast women who claimed less than30 K wind up with a median disposable income of 28.3 K. Without discussing additional expenses like cost penalties and retroactive arrears, … termed ’fixed costs‘ above.

In a litigated court dispute, a man earning less than 30 K gross has a 1.5 % chance of custody and a 14.4 % chance of joint custody -at best. After being stripped of his kids he has a 76.1 % chance of being imputed to a false income so he can be financially raped for support above the government guidelines. After which he’ll be left with a 6.6 K disposable income and won’t qualify for welfare or Legal Aid. So the odds are 40.3 % he’ll wind up in court self-represented. They even took away the public safety net of bankruptcy with regards to support, which encourages the deliberate bankrupting of non-custodial fathers because the support recipient then becomes the sole remaining creditor after bankruptcy.

I suggest that no one can live on a 6.6 K disposable income. This indicates a gross lack of concern for the impact on an unknown number of people who’s circumstances do not improve to meet judge-imposed income objectives. Some might even call it criminal negligence causing death. A cruel and unusual punishment. Debt bondage is outlawed for everyone EXCEPT non-custodial fathers. Involuntary servitude (slavery) is deliberately imposed by the courts. 6.6 K disposable income is not some rare and unusual example, it is themedian. Half of this group would be left with less. 

It appears to be government policy to not give a damn for all these filthy deadbeat dads , and that is certainly consistent with the general state of government attitudes influenced by lawyers and the Status of Women Canada Agency.

In comparison, 

  • women earning less than 30 K have lawyers 93.7 % of the time. 
  • They get custody or joint custody 89.9 % of the time 
  • After support they wind up with a disposable income of 28.3 K ... not counting generous child tax benefits and other government subsidies. 
  • Which are quite high for this group of low income earners. 
  • They got Legal Aid, 
  • when the court rarely happens to fail them, then they qualify for welfare.

Government policy takes care of one group nicely and starves (or jails) the other if they can’t perform as ordered. The numbers seem blatant. Even comparing low income men to other divorced men would seem to make the point. 6.6 K without a safety net is not just unfair or blatant.It’s life threatening, and certainly the suicide statistics for men will bear that out!

It should be possible to oppose such a policy, and it is likely that many in government and the courts would respond IF the Status of Women Canada was dis-established and no longer able to influence all government departments and policy. 

There are lawful limits on the ' obligations and responsibilities' that the government and judges have the duty to impose on divorcing parents, and those limits have long been overstepped.