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Shame on them: Ontario will now publish the names of dads who don't or can't pay child support.

From: Karen Selick <kselick@westernstandard.ca>

To: Michael Coren <mcoren@westernstandard.ca>

Date: Feb. 12, 2007 10:44 AM

Subject: Deadbeat dads

Ontario announced recently that it would post on a website the names and photographs of "deadbeat" parents--those who owe child support arrears--in the hope of embarrassing them into paying. Having practised family law since 1985, I've rarely seen anyone who refuses to pay out of sheer perversity. Most fall into arrears only because they've lost their jobs, become ill, or suffered some other serious adversity. Often, they can't afford lawyers to get their support orders reduced by the courts, so they spiral deeper and deeper into debt. Posting their personal information could backfire. If they're being considered for a new job, it could destroy their chances of getting hired. Even worse, the embarrassment may fall not only on the debtors, but on their children. Imagine the schoolyard taunts, "Hey, loser--even your own father (or mother) doesn't love you enough to pay support!" It's a bad idea, and the McGuinty government should give it up.

From: Michael Coren <mcoren@westernstandard.ca>

To: Karen Selick <kselick@westernstandard.ca>

Date: Feb. 12, 2007 2:19 PM

Subject: re: Deadbeat dads

I've never practised family law, but I wrote a men's column for The Globe and Mail for two years and have reported on this issue for more than a decade. There are, yes, many men who are genuinely unable to support their broken families. Unlike you, however, I've encountered a large number who refuse to pay child support out of what you call "perversity." I'd call it malice or sheer indifference. There are legions of women whose former husbands hide money, lie to the authorities and simply leave their jobs when the support agencies find them. So to pretend the problem doesn't exist is pointless. The solution, however, is to scrap the custody laws and allow divorced men completely equal time in raising their children. This would necessitate fair and balanced financial support from both parties and give men their absolute but currently ignored rights to be fathers.

From: Karen Selick <kselick@westernstandard.ca>

To: Michael Coren <mcoren@westernstandard.ca>

Date: Feb. 12, 2007 3:51 PM

Subject: re: Deadbeat dads

I didn't mean to imply that non-custodial parents--usually fathers--pay their child support joyfully. I agree that many, if not most, resent having to pay. However, given the vast panoply of weapons that the Family Responsibility Office already possesses to extract money from fathers (e.g., garnisheeing wages, suspending driver's licences, denying passports), those who don't want to devote their lives to dodging and tricking the FRO generally pay what's ordered, unless they simply can't. Posting their names won't help. Blood from a stone, et cetera. Regarding custody, I agree entirely. The default position after separation should be that kids have equal time with both parents, unless one parent is clearly unsuitable--a child molester, for instance. Studies show a very high correlation between support compliance and liberal access to one's children. However, I'd go further, requiring each parent to support the kids on his/her own resources during his/her time with them. Spousal support is another story--maybe for another debate.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

From: Michael Coren <mcoren@westernstandard.ca>

To: Karen Selick <kselick@westernstandard.ca>

Date: Feb. 12, 2007 4:38 PM

Subject: re: Deadbeat dads

I'm sorry, Karen, but we seem to live in different worlds. I'm very much a men's advocate in all this and despise the current system for its inequalities, but the idea that there are not many men out there who can pay, but simply refuse to do so, is frankly absurd. I have no problem in exposing and naming deadbeats. My problem is that it doesn't address the fundamental gender bias of the courts and the feminist-influenced judges, who rule on child custody cases every day. Nor have we even mentioned the insidious divorce culture that now permeates our society. We need to reintroduce stigma and, yes, shame. Divorce is never desirable, but sometimes inevitable. To do so when there are children involved is a dreadful failure.
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Title Annotation:FACEOFF
Publication:Western Standard
Date:Feb 26, 2007
Words:682
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