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The allocation of responsibility for the maintenance of the single parent family Violet, Ian 1990

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THE ALLOCATION OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE SINGLE PARENT FAMILY By IAN VIOLET B.A., The Un i v e r s i t y of Cambridge, 1984 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF LAWS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Law School) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH- COLUMBIA © Ian V i o l e t , 1990 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Law  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date g™ AOQOST mo DE-6 (2/88) i i ABSTRACT The s o c i a l p r o b l e m u n d e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n i s t h a t o f w i d e s p r e a d p o v e r t y amongst h o u s e h o l d s c o m p r i s i n g m i n o r c h i d r e n and a l o n e p a r e n t , w h e t h e r t h i s h o u s e h o l d has a r i s e n due to a b i r t h o u t s i d e a s t a b l e u n i o n , s e p a r a t i o n , d i v o r c e o r w idowhood. The s c a l e and f e a t u r e s o f t h i s p o v e r t y a r e i d e n t i f i e d w i t h r e f e r e n c e to d e m o g r a p h i c d a t a f rom Canada and the U n i t e d K i n g d o m . P o s s i b l e p o l i c i e s f o r r e f o r m a r e i d e n t i f i e d t h r o u g h a t h o r o u g h r e v i e w o f l i t e r a t u r e f rom the Commonwealth and the U n i t e d S t a t e s . S p e c i a l a t t e n t i o n i s p a i d to e m p i r i c a l i n v e s t i g a t i o n s and the r e l a t i o n s h i p between p u b l i c and p r i v a t e s u p p o r t o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . W h i l s t none o f the f o u r h y p o t h e t i c a l r e f o r m s p r o p o s e d - a s y s t e m o f i n s u r a n c e , r i g o r o u s e n f o r c e m e n t o f c o u r t o r d e r s , c o n s t r a i n i n g j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n , expanded r i g h t s to p u b l i c s u p p o r t - i s u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y a c c e p t e d , o n l y i n s u r a n c e i s r e j e c t e d as o f f e r i n g n o t h i n g o f v a l u e . The c o n c l u s i o n i s t h a t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r h i s o r her c h i l d r e n must c o n t i n u e to be emphas ised b u t t h a t p u b l i c r e s o u r c e s s h o u l d be expended w i t h a v iew to a s s i s t i n g the s i n g l e p a r e n t to o b t a i n , e n f o r c e and p e r i o d i c a l l y v a r y o r d e r s i n f a v o u r o f the c h i l d r e n . F o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t h i m s e l f o r h e r s e l f , the a im must be to r e v e r s e the c u r r e n t p r o c e s s o f m a r g i n a l i s a t i o n w i t h i n s o c i e t y and t h i s i n d e p e n d e n c e can b e s t be a c h i e v e d by r e f o r m s o f the l a b o u r market r a t h e r t h a n by r e f o r m s o f the l e g a l p r o c e s s . i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE ABSTRACT i i CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1 1 . D e f i n i n g the S o c i a l P r o b l e m to be A d d r e s s e d 2 2 . Who a r e S i n g l e P a r e n t F a m i l i e s 6 i The h i s t o r i c a l c o n t e x t 6 i i The s i g n i f i c a n c e o f m a r i t a l s t a t u s w i t h r e s p e c t to s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d 10 i i i S i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d as a p r e d o m i n a n t l y f e m a l e e x p e r i e n c e 14 i v S i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d as an e c o n o m i c a l l y d e b i l i t a t i n g e x p e r i e n c e 20 CHAPTER 2: SOURCES OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES 30 1 . A G e n e r a l O v e r v i e w 30 2 . E a r n i n g s as a S o u r c e o f F i n a n c i a l S u p p o r t 31 3 . M a t r i m o n i a l P r o p e r t y as a S o u r c e o f F i n a n c i a l S u p p o r t 35 4 . M a i n t e n a n c e Payments as a S o u r c e o f F i n a n c i a l S u p p o r t 40 5 . S o c i a l A s s i s t a n c e as a S o u r c e o f F i n a n c i a l S u p p o r t 47 6 . The F i e l d o f C h o i c e 50 CHAPTER 3: SINGLE PARENTHOOD AS AN INSURABLE RISK 57 1 . P r i v a t e V o l u n t a r y I n s u r a n c e 61 2 . P r i v a t e C o m p u l s o r y I n s u r a n c e 62 3 . S o c i a l I n s u r a n c e 64 4 . C o n c l u s i o n 67 i v PAGE CHAPTER 4: ENFORCEMENT 69 1. The Problem of 'Discouraged' Maintenance 72 2. Are Maintenance Arrears the same as other Debts? 76 3. Why i s Default so Widespread? 80 4. Evaluation of Enforcement Processes 91 i Prospective and retrospective enforcement 93 i i J a i l as a means of enforcement 97 5. Roles of Individual and State i n the Enforcement Process 100 i I n s t i t u t i o n of proceedings: tracing the defaulter 102 i i I n s t i t u t i o n of proceedings: deciding to take enforcement measures 106 i i i Conduct of proceedings 111 6. Enforcement: A F i r s t P r i o r i t y for the Single Parent Family? 118 CHAPTER 5: LIMITING THE IMPACT OF JUDICIAL DISCRETION 130 1. Present Methods of Assessment 132 i The Oxford Study of Registrars 135 i i The Denver D i s t r i c t Court Study 143 i i i The Orange County, F l o r i d a Study 146 2. Problems of Adequacy of Orders 149 3. Reform of the Process of Ca l c u l a t i n g Support 154 i Emphasising costs and expenditure 155 i i Emphasising a sharing of resources 160 i i i The d e s i r a b i l i t y of a quantitative standard 162 4. Who should use the Guidelines? 167 5. Concluding Remarks 174 V PAGE CHAPTER 6: THE MAINTENANCE OF THE SINGLE PARENT FAMILY AS A COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY 184 1. Single Parenthood as a V i c i s s i t u d e of L i f e 185 2. The E f f e c t of Changing Family Patterns 192 3. S o c i a l R e s p o n s i b i l i t y : The Present P o s i t i o n 196 4. Concluding Remarks 203 CHAPTER 7: INDEPENDENCE FOR SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES 211 BIBLIOGRAPHY 217 1 CHAPTER 1  INTRODUCTION In t h i s t h e s i s , my c o n c e r n i s to s u g g e s t s o l u t i o n s to the economic p l i g h t o f many o f the men and women who r a i s e c h i l d r e n a l o n e . I w i l l r e f e r to them as ' s i n g l e p a r e n t s ' and to the h o u s e h o l d s i n w h i c h they l i v e w i t h t h e i r m i n o r c h i l d r e n as ' s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s ' . As w i l l become c l e a r , some o f t h e s e p a r e n t s a r e more ' s i n g l e ' , more a l o n e , than o t h e r s . Some may s t i l l e x p e r i e n c e c o - o p e r a t i v e , f r u i t f u l r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h the o t h e r p a r e n t and have none o f the e x a s p e r a t i o n c a u s e d by w i t h h e l d c h i l d s u p p o r t payments o r a l t e r e d a r r a n g e m e n t s f o r v i s i t i n g the c h i l d r e n . T h e y may e x p e r i e n c e a c o n t i n u a t i o n o f j o i n t p a r e n t i n g , e v e n though they a r e n o t l i v i n g w i t h the o t h e r p a r e n t . O t h e r s , w h i l s t d e r i v i n g l i t t l e o r no economic and e m o t i o n a l s u p p o r t f rom the o t h e r p a r e n t , may be h e l p e d by k i n s h i p s u p p o r t systems r o o t e d i n t h e i r own f a m i l i e s and p e r h a p s the a b s e n t p a r e n t s ' f a m i l i e s . F o r e x a m p l e , Hunte r comments on the v a l u e to s i n g l e p a r e n t s o f s u p p o r t f r o m the ex tended f a m i l y amongst the B l a c k community i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s . 1 An a b s e n t f a t h e r ' s f a m i l y may c o n t r i b u t e to h i s c h i l d r e n ' s s u p p o r t , even i f the f a t h e r h i m s e l f i s no l o n g e r p a r t o f the c h i l d r e n ' s h o u s e h o l d . Many s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s would n o t f i t i n t o e i t h e r o f the two p r e c e d i n g c a t e g o r i e s . T h e y a r e i s o l a t e d and m a r g i n a l , d e r i v i n g no s u p p o r t , whether i n terms o f t ime s p e n t w i t h the c h i l d r e n o r i n p u r e l y f i n a n c i a l t e r m s , f rom the o t h e r p a r e n t . T h e y a r e c o n f i n e d to the s t a n d a r d s p e r m i t t e d by the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s own r e s o u r c e s and s u p p l e m e n t s f r o m the g o v e r n m e n t . 2 What I am s u g g e s t i n g a t the o u t s e t i s t h a t i t would be wrong to s u p p o s e t h a t t h e r e i s a u n i t y o f e x p e r i e n c e amongst s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s i n the W e s t e r n w o r l d . S p e a k i n g o f s u p p o r t i n a b road s e n s e , e n c o m p a s s i n g b o t h f i n a n c i a l c o n t r i b u t i o n and e f f o r t i n the home, some s i n g l e p a r e n t s w i l l d i s c o v e r the s t r e n g t h o f the o t h e r p a r e n t ' s commitment to the c h i l d r e n and the v a l u e o f r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h i n the ex tended f a m i l y and the n e i g h b o u r h o o d . O t h e r s w i l l e x p e r i e n c e a f r a c t u r i n g o f many r e l a t i o n s h i p s , n o t o n l y o f t h a t w i t h the o t h e r p a r e n t , and the r e s u l t i n g i s o l a t i o n and f r u s t r a t i o n . 1. D e f i n i n g the S o c i a l P r o b l e m to be A d d r e s s e d The e x t e n t o f the prob lems o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y w i l l c l e a r l y v a r y f r o m f a m i l y to f a m i l y and may be i n f l u e n c e d by many f a c t o r s i n c l u d i n g the sex o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t , how s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d came a b o u t and how l o n g i t has l a s t e d , the a c c e s s i b i l i t y o f the l a b o u r marke t and the a v a i l a b i l i t y o f c h i l d c a r e and o t h e r s e r v i c e s . To what e x t e n t c a n any o f the d i f f i c u l t i e s f a c e d by s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s a c c u r a t e l y be termed s o c i a l p rob lems i n the s e n s e o f p rob lems f o r s o c i e t y , p rob lems w h i c h i t i s the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f s o c i e t y to a s s i s t i n r e s o l v i n g ? Is i t s u f f i c i e n t to e s t a b l i s h t h a t a b r o a d l y d e f i n e d group w i t h i n s o c i e t y l a c k s f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e s o r has become i s o l a t e d and m a r g i n a l i s e d ? I f the c o m p l a i n t o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t who i s s e p a r a t e d o r d i v o r c e d i s t h a t economic s t a t u s has been r e d u c e d , why i s t h i s a p rob lem f o r anybody b u t the p a r t i c i p a n t s In t h a t p a r t i c u l a r m a t r i m o n i a l d i s p u t e ? As E e k e l a a r d e m o n s t r a t e s , i f a p a r t i c u l a r dominant v a l u e i n s o c i e t y i s emphas ised s u f f i c i e n t l y , s o c i e t y ' s p e r c e p t i o n o f a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n as p r o b l e m a t i c i s a l t e r e d . D e n y i n g a young p e r s o n 3 e d u c a t i o n a l o p p o r t u n i t y o r the chance to a s s o c i a t e w i t h o t h e r s o f the same age b e c a u s e o f a b e l i e f h e l d by the p a r e n t s may r a i s e d i f f i c u l t i s s u e s f o r some p e o p l e . However , i f p a r e n t a l a u t h o r i t y i s a d o m i n a n t 3 v a l u e , s u c h i s s u e s b a r e l y e n t e r the p u b l i c d o m a i n . S i m i l a r l y , i f t h e r e i s to be f reedom to l e a v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w h i c h c have b r o k e n down and f r e e d o m to engage i n s e x u a l i n t e r c o u r s e o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e , any prob lems a r i s i n g f rom the e x e r c i s e o f t h e s e f reedoms a r e n o t a u t o m a t i c a l l y m a t t e r s f o r s o c i a l c o n c e r n . I f the i n d i v i d u a l i s m w h i c h u n d e r l i e s t h e s e f reedoms i s s t r e s s e d s u f f i c i e n t l y , i t would be r e s p e c t a b l e to a r g u e t h a t the economic d i f f i c u l t i e s o f many s e p a r a t e d , d i v o r c e d o r u n m a r r i e d s i n g l e p a r e n t s a r e the ' i n e v i t a b l e p r i c e o f an i n d i v i d u a l i s t economy and i t s f a m i l y s y s t e m ' ^ and t h a t l o s s e s s h o u l d be taken wherever they might f a l l . What makes t h i s a s p e c t o f f a m i l y law so i n t e r e s t i n g and so p r o b l e m a t i c a l i s t h a t s o c i a l v a l u e s a r e n o t so c l e a r - c u t and e a s i l y i d e n t i f i e d . P a r t i c u l a r l y i n the c a s e s o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y a r i s i n g f rom d i v o r c e o r f rom a b i r t h o u t s i d e w e d l o c k , t h e r e a r e f o r c e s opposed to the dominance o f i n d i v i d u a l i s t v a l u e s . T h e y do n o t s e r i o u s l y c h a l l e n g e the i n d i v i d u a l ' s f reedom to l e a v e a r e l a t i o n s h i p w h i c h has b r o k e n down o r to engage i n s e x u a l r e l a t i o n s o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e . T h e r e a r e those c o n s e r v a t i v e s who a rgue t h a t ' t h e s t i g m a o f h a v i n g a b a s t a r d baby needs to be r e i n t r o d u c e d ' and t h a t ' [ l ] i f e as a s i n g l e p a r e n t i s n o t n e a r l y u n p l e a s a n t e n o u g h ' . " ' However , a code o f i n d i v i d u a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y w i t h u n p l e a s a n t c o n s e q u e n c e s f o r w r o n g d o i n g wou ld i n d i c a t e t h a t the p r o b l e m s o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s , however the f a m i l y u n i t i s c r e a t e d , a r e n o t d i f f i c u l t i e s so w i d e s p r e a d and o f s u c h m a g n i t u d e t h a t s o c i e t y a t l a r g e s h o u l d c o n c e r n i t s e l f . 4 The 'countervailing humanitarian values' which I i d e n t i f y as l i m i t i n g the ascendancy of abst e n t i o n i s t values are those concerned with the welfare of c h i l d r e n . Society cannot stand by and leave events to take their course i f large numbers of disadvantaged c h i l d r e n w i l l r e s u l t from such abstinence. Children may be perceived as deserving because they form a large group amongst the needy whose p l i g h t i s not due to t h e i r own actions.^ Society's a l t r u i s m i n this regard must not be over-stated. Some s o c i a l concern for single parent f a m i l i e s i s motivated by apocryphal theories of the p o t e n t i a l malignity of the members of the si n g l e parent's household. So c i a l action equates to s o c i a l p rotection. A propensity for delinquent behaviour i s often alleged but studies d i s c l o s e that 'the closeness of the a s s o c i a t i o n g between delinquency and broken homes i s sometimes overestimated'. This may be because the juvenile j u s t i c e system more r e a d i l y commits to an i n s t i t u t i o n a young offender from a broken home. T.P. Monahan's study of f i r s t offenders under eighteen years of age who appeared before juvenile courts i n P h i l a d e l p h i a between 1949 and 1954 supports this 9 hypothesis. Even i f being raised i n a si n g l e parent family i s no more than 'a contributory cause of delinquency'*^* there i s a mythology surrounding the single parent family which a f f e c t s public opinion. A second aspect of the supposedly humanitarian concern for the welfare of c h i l d r e n i n si n g l e parent families are the economic choices with which this concern presents society at large. H a r r i s , McDonald and Weston argue that the r e a l i t y of the s i t u a t i o n d i c t a t e s that the major question f o r the community i s how to foot the b i l l rather than whether to pay i t * * but this view i s i n advance of many people's opinions of the 12 economic choices to be made. Faced with an es c a l a t i n g welfare budget, 5 Ronald Reagan sought to project an image of humanitarian concern f o r c h i l d r e n w h i l s t unambiguously making his economic choice: 'The American people w i l l i n g l y extend help to c h i l d r e n i n need, including those whose parents are f a i l i n g to meet their r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . However, i t i s our o b l i g a t i o n to make every e f f o r t to place the f i n a n c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y where i t r i g h t l y belongs -on the parent who has been l e g a l l y ordered to support his c h i l d . ' 13 Protection of the public revenues i s not a new concern and i t i s a theme which w i l l be mentioned on a number of occasions i n t h i s t h e s i s . Its importance here Is not so much i t s persistence from the E n g l i s h Poor R e l i e f Act 1601 to the present day, as i t s moderating e f f e c t on the hypothesis that single parent families are objects of s o c i a l concern because of the p l i g h t of the ch i l d r e n who are brought up in such f a m i l i e s . This concern i t s e l f a r i s e s out of a conviction that two parent f a m i l i e s are best and may be explained, somewhat c y n i c a l l y , as generated by a fear of juvenile crime and r i s i n g public expenditure. Better far to manifest concern by ensuring those who used to l i v e as one household continue to be an economic u n i t than to accept f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . What I am trying to describe i s a c l a s h between an i n d i v i d u a l i s t ethos, which reinforces self-centred desires for personal happiness and f u l f i l m e n t , and countervailing humanitarian values which acknowledge the harshness of unbridled individualism and seek to protect disadvantaged groups. Within each of the d i f f e r e n t contexts presented by the study of sin g l e parent f a m i l i e s , the s o c i a l problem i s to a l l o c a t e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , most importantly f o r f i n a n c i a l support and care of chil d r e n , i n a manner which offends neither the assertion of the r i g h t to enter new r e l a t i o n s h i p s nor a professed humanitarianism concerning 6 the welfare of the indigent. At the heart of this issue are the extent to which r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , once assumed, can be renounced and the l i m i t s of the State's o b l i g a t i o n to assume such r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . 2. Who are Single Parent Families? * Tbe his t o r l e a l con tex t When undertaking t h i s task of a l l o c a t i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s between the si n g l e parent, former family members and the State at the present day, i t i s tempting to assume that new problems are being encountered. Although demonstrably i n c o r r e c t , i t i s possible to point to sources from the 1950's onwards which discuss marital breakdown i n p a r t i c u l a r as i f marriage had, u n t i l quite recently, been an unvarying f a m i l i a l 14 i n s t i t u t i o n . The Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce 1951-1955, commonly known as the Morton Commission a f t e r i t s chairman, was quite uninhibited i n i t s use of unsupported reference to the past, by implication an undifferentiated era of s t a b i l i t y and se c u r i t y : 'Weighing a l l the evidence before us, we are s a t i s f i e d that marriages are now breaking up which i n the past would have held together.' 15 'In the f i r s t place, marriages today are at r i s k to a greater extent than formerly. The complexity of modern l i f e m u l t i p l i e s the p o t e n t i a l causes of disagreement and the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of f r i c t i o n between husband and wife.' 16 'There i s a tendency to take the duties and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of marriage l e s s seriously than formerly.' 17 18 As McGregor was l a t e r to argue, the Commission was putting forward opinion i n the guise of f a c t and, indeed, i t could do l i t t l e more because i t had 'made no attempt to secure the s o c i a l evidence by 19 which alone the merits of [proposals] can be judged'. The s o c i a l 7 s c i e n t i f i c f a i l i n g s o f the M o r t o n Commiss ion were to some e x t e n t 20 r e c t i f i e d by the Commit tee on O n e - P a r e n t F a m i l i e s o f w h i c h P r o f e s s o r McGregor was a member. T h i s r e p o r t r e j e c t e d the M o r t o n C o m m i s s i o n ' s a p p r o a c h to the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f i n c r e a s i n g numbers o f p e t i t i o n s f o r 21 d i v o r c e . The F i n e r R e p o r t , as the R e p o r t o f the Committee on O n e - P a r e n t F a M l i e s i s u s u a l l y r e f e r r e d t o , s u g g e s t s t h a t d r a w i n g c o n c l u s i o n s f rom f i g u r e s f o r r a t e s o f d i v o r c e i s p r o b l e m a t i c a l . F i r s t l y , the r a t e s o f d i v o r c e i n s u c c e s s i v e y e a r s g r o u p t o g e t h e r the whole o f the p o p u l a t i o n a t r i s k o f d i v o r c e i n t h a t p a r t i c u l a r y e a r , whereas d i v i s i o n o f the p o p u l a t i o n a t r i s k , e . g . i n t o c o h o r t s m a r r y i n g 22 i n p a r t i c u l a r y e a r s , g i v e s r i s e to s u b t l e r m e a s u r e m e n t s . S e c o n d l y , to equa te an i n c r e a s i n g r a t e o f d i v o r c e w i t h the imminent c o l l a p s e o f f a m i l y l i f e , a p r i n c i p a l theme o f W i l l i a m L a t e y ' s b o o k , The T i d e 23 o f D i v o r c e , i s to s u g g e s t t h a t m a r r i a g e s d i d n o t b r e a k down b e f o r e 24 d i v o r c e became w i d e l y a v a i l a b l e and t h a t f a m i l y l i f e i s an a s c e r t a i n a b l e c o n s t a n t . B o t h the M o r t o n C o m m i s s i o n and W i l l i a m L a t e y have a model o f an e s t a b l i s h e d t r a d i t i o n o f f a m i l y l i f e w i t h i n w h i c h c h i l d r e n a r e l i k e l y to 25 p r o s p e r . T h e i r h o r r o r a t r i s i n g d i v o r c e r a t e s emanates f rom t h e i r c o n v i c t i o n t h a t the c h i l d r e n i n the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s t h e r e b y c r e a t e d w i l l be p a r e n t a l l y d e p r i v e d . However , do c h i l d r e n whose p a r e n t s I have d i v o r c e d o r s e p a r a t e d e x p e r i e n c e any d i f f e r e n t p s y c h o l o g i c a l p r o b l e m s o r a d j u s t m e n t s to t h o s e who have l o s t a p a r e n t t h r o u g h d e a t h ? A r e the p r o c e s s e s o f bereavement and d i v o r c e f u n d a m e n t a l l y d i f f e r e n t f o r the c h i l d r e n i n v o l v e d ? F o r example , C h a r l o t t e Banks l o o k e d i n t o the b a c k g r o u n d s o f boys i n B r i t i s h d e t e n t i o n c e n t r e s and found t h a t , a l t h o u g h homes b r o k e n by d e a t h 8 were three times as frequent as i n the population at large, homes broken 26 by separation were f i v e times as frequent. Ferguson followed up a cohort of male Glasgow school-leavers and made a s i m i l a r observation: the bereaved boys were no more l i k e l y to be convicted than those from i n t a c t homes, but those who had experienced parental separation were 27 disproportionately represented i n the group of convicts. Perhaps discord i s more relevant than l o s s , at l e a s t with respect to propensity 28 for delinquent behaviour. That the e f f e c t on children of parental deprivation could be d i f f e r e n t according to whether the parent has died or has l e f t the household i s a point not s a t i s f a c t o r i l y addressed by Peter L a s l e t t i n 29 his d i s c u s s i o n of parental deprivation i n the past. He c o r r e c t l y i d e n t i f i e s the tendency 'to look on our own generation as burdened by the problem [of parental deprivation] to an extent never p a r a l l e l e d i n 30 the past'. We conveniently neglect the e f f e c t s of higher m o r t a l i t y i n past centuries. The proportion of children having l o s t one or both parents i n seventeenth and eighteenth century England may well be equivalent to the proportion of c h i l d r e n l i v i n g i n s i n g l e parent 31 f a m i l i e s nowadays. At Clayworth i n Nottinghamshire i n 1676, 32% of unmarried people had l o s t at l e a s t one parent; the f i g u r e was the same 32 i n 1688. . C l e a r l y , this measure i s somewhat affected by age at marriage. Another example of parental deprivation i n the seventeenth century i s disclosed by the p a r i s h r e g i s t e r of Saint Mary's, Manchester, which d i s c l o s e s that of women marrying i n the years 1653 to 1660 between 33 52% and 59% were f a t h e r l e s s . What we cannot be sure of i s the e f f e c t of parental deprivation on the c h i l d r e n involved. This must be the caveat on subscribing unquestioningly to L a s l e t t ' s conclusion: 9 'We are hardly j u s t i f i e d , i n h i s t o r i c a l terms, i n sympathising with ourselves f o r the prevalence of broken marriages i n our time and i t s deplorable e f f e c t s on our c h i l d r e n . ' 34 Whilst i t i s sometimes forgotten that the single parent family i s a longstanding s o c i a l phenomenon, i t could be that the e f f e c t of the deprivation manifests i t s e l f d i f f e r e n t l y over time. Though greater mortality was an important factor, i t should not be thought that widowhood was n e c e s s a r i l y the p r i n c i p a l event which gave r i s e to a sing l e parent family i n past centuries. As Levine and Wrighton point out, there was no 'homogeneity of a t t i t u d e and experience 35 i n the p r e - i n d u s t r i a l world.' I t appears that there were two periods of high numbers of b i r t h s outside wedlock i n e a r l y modern England: 36 1591-1610 and the l a t e eighteenth century. B i r t h s outside marriage were generally unwelcome i n the propertied classes, i n p a r t i c u l a r because of the threat to succession which they posed. Perhaps because of t h i s , a theory has developed that p a r t i c u l a r groups within society 37 were p a r t i c u l a r l y prone to b i r t h s outside marriage. Levine and 38 Wrightson's study of T e r l i n g i n Essex, England to some extent bears this out. Outside the periods of high incidence, b i r t h s outside marriage became 'more e x c l u s i v e l y the province of the poor and the 39 obscure'. They were i d e n t i f i a b l e as a nuisance: 'Again, over the whole period, the parents of i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n and their contacts were involved to a s t r i k i n g degree i n the myriad petty 'disorders' of v i l l a g e l i f e . ' 40 L a s l e t t ' s study of the well-preserved parish r e g i s t e r s at Hawkshead i n the E n g l i s h Lake D i s t r i c t disclosed that, over the years, some fami l i e s had a disproportionate number of bi r t h s outside marriage, 41 others l e s s than expected. Many women bearing c h i l d r e n outside 10 m a r r i a g e would n o t s t a y i n Hawkshead l o n g b u t would r e t u r n to the p a r i s h o f t h e i r s e t t l e m e n t , t h a t I s , where they had worked f o r a t l e a s t one y e a r . L a s l e t t p o s i t s : ' a f o o t l o o s e n e s s w h i c h was a l s o , p e r h a p s , m a r g i n a l ! t y . They may have been r e l a t i v e l y s t a t i c i n the l a t e r e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y , b u t i t i s d i f f i c u l t e v e r to r e g a r d them as a s e t t l e d and a c c e p t e d p a r t o f the c o m u n i t y . 1 42 In terms o f s e c u r i t y and a c c e p t a n c e , the p o s i t i o n w i t h i n the community o f the u n m a r r i e d mother and h e r c h i l d may be l i t t l e c h a n g e d . I t wou ld c e r t a i n l y be i n t e r e s t i n g to l e a r n whether women b e a r i n g c h i l d r e n o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e i n p r e v i o u s c e n t u r i e s l a t e r formed two p a r e n t h o u s e h o l d s o r whether t h e i r e p i s o d e s o f s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d l a s t e d f o r a l o n g t i m e . Once pushed to the m a r g i n s , was t h e r e a r o u t e back to the m a i n s t r e a m o f the community? I t may be t h a t , when t h e r e i s a l a r g e p r o p o r t i o n o f b i r t h s o u t s i d e w e d l o c k , i t i s ha rd to d i s c e r n where the m a i n s t r e a m o f the community l i e s . The r a t e o f b i r t h s o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e i s a r g u a b l y a measure o f the 43 e f f i c a c y o f m a r r i a g e as an i n s t i t u t i o n f o r r a i s i n g c h i l d r e n as w e l l as an i n d i c a t i o n o f n o n - c o n f o r m i t y . Any r i s e i n the p r e s e n t r a t e o f b i r t h s o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e i s u n l i k e l y to be u n p r e c e d e n t e d and d o e s n o t r a i s e q u e s t i o n s o f s o c i a l s u r v i v a l , o n l y e q u a l l y d i f f i c u l t q u e s t i o n s o f s o c i a l c h a n g e . I n the h i s t o r i c a l c o n t e x t , the d e m o g r a p h i c p o s i t i o n o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y i s w e l l - e s t a b l i s h e d , s e p a r a t i o n , widowhood and b i r t h o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e b e i n g n o t h i n g new. i i The s i g n i f i c a n c e o f m a r i t a l s t a t u s w i t h r e s p e c t to s i n g l e A t d i f f e r e n t p e r i o d s , we f i n d t h a t the t o t a l body o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s i s composed o f v a r y i n g p r o p o r t i o n s o f widows and w i d o w e r s , la renthood 11 separated and divorced parents, and unmarried mothers and, exceptionally, unmarried fathers. To take Canada as an example, i n 1951 two thirds of s i n g l e parents l i v i n g with c h i l d r e n who had never married were widows or widowers.^ In making this c a l c u l a t i o n , a l l c h i l d r e n who had never married of whatever age were included. Just short of another t h i r d of the t o t a l of si n g l e parents were separated w h i l s t just 3.1% and 45 1.5% were resp e c t i v e l y divorced or had never been married. By 1981, the widows and widowers had been s u b s t a n t i a l l y displaced by the other categories. Divorced si n g l e parents had increased nearly e i g h t - f o l d to 26.3% of the t o t a l ; the never-married s i x - f o l d to 9.8%. The proportion 46 of widows and widowers had dropped by more than h a l f . The contrast over the t h i r t y years may well have been more s t r i k i n g i f only lone parents with minor c h i l d r e n had been counted. Indeed, the 1986 Canadian census d i s c l o s e s that half of a l l female lone parents entered single parenthood due to separation or divorce, a thi r d due to a b i r t h outside marriage and the remaining 17%, by far the smallest category, due to widowhood. ^ What i s the po t e n t i a l importance of this change i n the composition of the t o t a l group of si n g l e parents since World War II? This question i s best answered with reference to the average age of those entering sin g l e parenthood by each of the three main routes and to the average length of time spent as head of a si n g l e parent family. S t a t i s t i c s from the Family History Survey, a sample of 14,000 people asked by S t a t i s t i c s Canada to report dates of marriage and major events i n th e i r l i v e s , suggest that as much as a decade separates the average age of each of 48 the three groups of female s i n g l e parents. The average age of the unmarried mothers i s 20.6 years, of the separated or divorced women 12 31.6 years and of the widows 41.8 years. These ages are a l l r e f e r r i n g to the time when sing l e parenthood began. P l a i n l y , giving b i r t h outside marriage, separation, divorce and widowhood are a l l events which tend to occur a t d i f f e r e n t eras i n a woman's l i f e . As widows become a less s i g n i f i c a n t portion of the t o t a l number of sing l e parents, i t i s reasonable to conclude that the average age of sing l e parents generally w i l l decline and this may have implications with respect to s o c i a l p o l i c y . Perhaps the youthful s i n g l e parent w i l l have more d i f f i c u l t y i n adapting to independent l i v i n g as the head of a family u n i t , simply due to inexperience and u n f a m i l i a r i t y with l i f e ' s demands. The older si n g l e parents may at l e a s t have some experience i n the labour market or a stronger network of supportive f r i e n d s . This idea of the average age d e c l i n i n g as widowhood becomes a le s s s i g n i f i c a n t route to si n g l e parenthood should not be exaggerated. When mortality was higher, there would be more younger bereaved single parents. Secondly, women having their f i r s t c h i l d within marriage at an 49 older age w i l l tend to push up the average age of entry to sing l e parenthood s l i g h t l y . However, i t appears that the age at which s i n g l e parenthood i s begun does have an influence on the length of time i t i s l i k e l y to l a s t . L a s l e t t noted that over h a l f the c h i l d r e n who had l o s t at l e a s t one parent i n seventeenth century Clayworth i n Nottinghamshire were l i v i n g i n reconstituted two parent f a m i l i e s , not i n sing l e parent f a m i l i e s . T h e pattern has persisted into the twentieth century. Single parenthood i s not always a l i f e sentence. Children may grow up and leave or a new partner may be found. Single parenthood i s often episodic. 13 For the unmarried mothers, i t i s u n l i k e l y that t h e i r periods of sin g l e parenthood w i l l end shor t l y due to the c h i l d leaving home. Adoption or the taking into care of the c h i l d are p o s s i b l i t i e s but otherwise the c h i l d w i l l not leave the sing l e parent's household f o r many years, sin g l e parenting having usually begun at the chi l d ' s b i r t h . Nevertheless, Maureen Moore found that i n Canada the i r episodes of singl e parenthood were on average the shortest of the three groups, j u s t 4.4 y e a r s . O f those whose episodes of sing l e parenthood had ended by the time of the Family History Survey i n February, 1984, 97% were e i t h e r 52 married or l i v i n g with a man outside marriage. The new partner would not necess a r i l y be the ch i l d ' s father, but i t i s worth reminding ourselves that by no means a l l unmarried mothers are sing l e parents. In B r i t a i n , for example, i n 1986, 21% of ch i l d r e n were born to unmarried couples but, of these c h i l d r e n , 66% were registered as the ch i l d r e n of the mother and father, i n d i c a t i n g that a majority may well be brought up 53 i n two parent f a m i l i e s . By way of contrast with the unmarried mothers, the women who were separated or divorced experienced s i n g l e parenthood for periods on average l a s t i n g 5.6 years according to the Canadian Family History 54 Survey and widows f or the longest average period of a l l , 7.5 years. Predictably therefore, smaller proportions of these women's episodes of sin g l e parenthood had terminated by the time the survey was taken: 57% of those separated or divorced and 47% of the widows compared with 83% of the unmarried m o t h e r s . A l s o predictably, of those widows and separated or divorced women whose time as single parents was over, fewer 56 had formed new r e l a t i o n s h i p s than the unmarried mothers. 14 P o s s i b l y b e c a u s e o f t h e i r y o u n g e r a v e r a g e age and g r e a t e r p r o p e n s i t y t o form new u n i o n s , the C a n a d i a n F a m i l y H i s t o r y S u r v e y found t h a t the u n m a r r i e d mothers were more l i k e l y to have a second e p i s o d e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d than the s e p a r a t e d o r d i v o r c e d women o r the w i d o w s . ' ' 7 J u s t o v e r a q u a r t e r o f the u n m a r r i e d mothers e x p e r i e n c e d a second e p i s o d e compared w i t h m e r e l y 4% o f those i n the o t h e r two g r o u p s . T h e s e f i g u r e s g i v e a u s e f u l i n d i c a t i o n o f the r a t e o f p a s s a g e t h r o u g h s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d and o f the t endency to fo rm new u n i o n s w h i c h may w e l l p r o v i d e g r e a t e r economic s t a b i l i t y . T h e i r i m p o r t a n c e i s t h a t t h e y emphas ise d i s t i n g u i s h i n g f e a t u r e s o f the t h r e e main g roups o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s w h i c h we have i d e n t i f i e d a n d , s e c o n d l y , t h a t they remind u s t h a t s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d i s f o r many a t ime o f t r a n s i t i o n though f o r some i t i s a way o f l i f e . i i i S i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d as a p r e d o m i n a n t l y f e m a l e e x p e r i e n c e However ephemera l s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d may be i n some c a s e s , i t i s l i k e l y to be a t ime o f h a r d s h i p r e l a t i v e to the p e r i o d b e f o r e the o n s e t 58 o f s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d . To what e x t e n t t h e r e i s a r e l a t i o n s h i p between the economic p l i g h t o f many o f those who r a i s e minor c h i l d r e n a l o n e and the f a c t t h a t the m a j o r i t y o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s a r e women w i l l be a r e c u r r i n g theme. A t t h i s p o i n t , my a im i s to e s t a b l i s h to what e x t e n t s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d c a n be r e g a r d e d as a p r e d o m i n a n t l y f e m a l e e x p e r i e n c e . In C a n a d a , the numbers o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s headed by men r o s e 59 by 56 ,750 between 1976 and 1986 , an i n c r e a s e o f n e a r l y 60% o v e r the d e c a d e . By 1986, the raw f i g u r e f o r s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s headed by men had r e a c h e d 1 5 1 , 7 4 0 . ^ ° The male s i n g l e p a r e n t i s c e r t a i n l y n o t a s o l i t a r y e c c e n t r i c . In C a n a d a , he b e l o n g s to a s u b s t a n t i a l s o c i a l g r o u p b u t , d e s p i t e the i n c r e a s e s i n numbers , male s i n g l e p a r e n t s s t i l l o n l y 15 represent 17% of the t o t a l number of single parents, much the same percentage as i n 1976. 6 1 B r i t i s h Columbia i s close to the national pattern with respect to the r e l a t i v e proportions of male and female s i n g l e parents but, at l e a s t between 1976 and 1981, there was a greater 62 rate of increase i n the numbers of single parents i n the province. At 30.8%, the rate of increase i n B r i t i s h Columbia was over 3% greater than the national rate of increase; with respect to male lone parents, i t was 63 over 5% greater. The Min i s t r y of Supply and Services suggests that migration from east to west may explain the higher figures for B r i t i s h Columbia.^ C l e a r l y , i f numbers of male sin g l e parents i n Canada are increasing at such a rate but no inroads are being made on the preponderance of female si n g l e parents as a proportion of a l l lone parents, i t i s l i k e l y that s i n g l e parent families as a group are comprising a gradually l a r g e r proportion of a l l Canadian f a m i l i e s . The census shows this to be correct; indeed lone parent families have been increasing i n numbers at a f a s t e r rate than two parent families since 1966. 6 5 By 1981, the t o t a l population In lone parent f a m i l i e s had reached 9.4% of the t o t a l family population, that i s 9.4% of those l i v i n g i n groups of two or more i n the same dwelling related to each other by blood, marriage or adoption. In Canada, therefore, we have a picture of the t o t a l of single parents increasing at a f a s t e r rate than that f o r two parent families but, within this s t e a d i l y larger group, a pe r s i s t e n t preponderance of female si n g l e parents. In Great B r i t a i n , the O f f i c e of Population Censuses and Surveys has recently suggested that the number of single parent families passed the m i l l i o n mark i n 1986 and that only one i n fi7 every f i f t e e n of these f a m i l i e s was headed by a man. This i s broadly 16 consistent with the decline i n the proportion of one parent f a m i l i e s headed by the father disclosed by an analysis of the General Household Survey data for 1973-75 and 1981-83 r e s p e c t i v e l y . 6 8 This i d e n t i f i e d a decline from 14% to 11%; the OPCS figures suggest the proportion may now be nearer 7%. Another recent government p u b l i c a t i o n does not attempt a qu a n t i f i c a t i o n , remarking l a c o n i c a l l y that 'the proportion [of chi l d r e n i n s i n g l e parent families] l i v i n g with a lone father i s s t i l l very small' despite an increase i n the proportion of children i n single 69 parent f a m i l i e s i n B r i t a i n : 8% of ch i l d r e n i n 1972 to 13% i n 1985. Should we be surprised by the low proportion of male sin g l e parents? Separation and divorce are the most usual gateways to sing l e parenthood, and i t i s unremarkable that parenting patterns observable within the two parent family should endure beyond the time of separation. There remain strong expectations within North American and West European society that women w i l l assume the primary nurturing r o l e with respect to their c h i l d r e n . I would agree with Martin Richards' observation 'that the general assumptions that are held about the sexual d i v i s i o n of labour within marriage are extended to the post-divorce s i t u a t i o n ' . 7 ^ Attempts by s o c i a l p o l i c y makers and law reformers to foster a climate i n which, at l e a s t a f t e r separation, men and women are not handicapped by st e r e o t y p i c a l images which may f e t t e r their freedom to contemplate and to choose the best arrangements for the i r children w i l l run some way ahead of broad s o c i a l consensus. This i s not to sneer at such attempts, merely to acknowledge the tenacity of the challenged assumptions. Consider, f o r example, data from the B r i t i s h Social Attitudes Survey i n 1986 concerning perspectives on the d e s i r a b i l i t y of c e r t a i n 17 parental working arrangements. I f there were c h i l d r e n under f i v e i n the family, 76% of those questioned f e l t that the best arrangements were fo r the father to work f u l l - t i m e and the mother to stay at home. Respondents who were married without ch i l d r e n were the most l i k e l y to favour t h i s arrangement (80%) and respondents who had never married were the l e a s t l i k e l y (61%). The l a t t e r group favoured the mother working part-time to a much greater extent than the married respondents, whether with or without c h i l d r e n . However, the married respondents accepted the mother working part-time when the ch i l d r e n had reached th e i r teens: 66% of those with ch i l d r e n and 60% of those without children suggested this as the best arrangement with teenagers. The B r i t i s h S o c i a l Attitudes Survey had two years e a r l i e r investigated the aspirations of married and never married respondents 72 with respect to c h i l d - r e a r i n g . With respect to the teaching of d i s c i p l i n e , 80% of both groups aspired to an equal sharing of the task and, according to the reports of the married respondents with c h i l d r e n , this l e v e l of a s p i r a t i o n was r e a l i s e d . However, turning to consider a task such as caring f o r s i c k c h i l d r e n , both groups were divided roughly equally i n the i r ideal a l l o c a t i o n s of the task: about half would see i t as mainly the woman's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . In r e a l i t y , 35% of the married respondents with ch i l d r e n shared the task but i n 63% of cases i t was allocated mainly to the woman. I t i s r e a d i l y conceded that these s t a t i s t i c s only give an i n d i c a t i o n of s o c i a l attitudes i n B r i t a i n i n 1986 and 1984 resp e c t i v e l y and that caution should be exercised i n seeking to draw conclusions with respect to prevalent attitudes i n other countries. For example, i n North America, expectations concerning the place of mothers i n the 18 labour market could be more favourable to working mothers. Nevertheless, the surveys give some backbone to the argument that, i f j o i n t parenting i s not taking place when the ch i l d r e n are part of a two parent family, i t i s highly u n l i k e l y to take place a f t e r separation. Attempts to promote j o i n t custody stumble against this hurdle. A j u d i c i a l preference f o r j o i n t custody would emphasise the importance of the c h i l d ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p s with both parents and the p o s s i b i l i t y for 73 co-operation i n a period usually characterised by s t r i f e . I t would 74 also seek to promote gender n e u t r a l i t y and i t i s i n this respect i n p a r t i c u l a r that any such preference would be at odds with e x i s t i n g c h i l d - c a r e patterns. This appears to be the case not only i n B r i t a i n but also i n C a l i f o r n i a where, at one time, there was i n operation a statutory presumption i n favour of j o i n t custody. 7"* I f , by j o i n t custody we mean a s i t u a t i o n i n which, a f t e r separation, parents share r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the care of their c h i l d r e n , the prevalence of j o i n t custody i s not to be judged by a cursory review of the j u d i c i a l s t a t i s t i c s . J o i n t custody may mean simply that the parent who does not have the c h i l d l i v i n g with him or her retains the r i g h t to p a r t i c i p a t e 76 i n the making of major decisions concerning the c h i l d ' s upbringing. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , the same l a b e l may be used to describe a s i t u a t i o n i n which the c h i l d alternates his or her residence p e r i o d i c a l l y . The lesson i s to look beyond the labels to the substance of the arrangements. Lenore Weitzman, i n her survey of a sample of cases i n San Fransisco and Los Angeles between 1968 and 1977 combined with searching interviews with recently divorced people, found that the person with the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the day to day care of the c h i l d was usually the mother, whatever the l a b e l applied to the arrangements by 19 the courts. A s i m i l a r observation was made by P r i e s t and Whybrow i n thei r analysis of records from ten Engl i s h divorce courts, selected to provide a range of courts varying i n the r e g u l a r i t y with which j o i n t 78 custody was awarded. The rates at which the courts gave sole custody to the wife varied within a range of t h i r t y percentage points. However, i f other orders giving day to day care to the wife are added to the sole custody orders, i t was,found that the ch i l d ' s residence was with the wife i n 88.6% of cases on average and that the range of r e s u l t s from the 79 ten courts was a mere 7.6 percentage points. Is i t the informed choice of separating and di v o r c i n g couples and the courts a f t e r weighing a l l the circumstances which lead to the wife obtaining custody of the couple's children? Or do s o c i a l expectations cut down the range of p o s s i b i l i t i e s ? Perhaps men f e e l embarrassed about r a i s i n g the p o s s i b i l i t y of t h e i r seeking custody with t h e i r lawyers, thinking i t eccentric or effeminate. Richards observes that lawyers, i n thei r turn, are u n l i k e l y to r a i s e the issue with t h e i r male c l i e n t s : 'If the c l i e n t does bring i t up the common advice seems to be that i t i s not worthwhile to proceed unless their partners w i l l agree to the proposal.' 80 The other side of the same coin are the women who may be concerned at appearing callous i f they release their children to the i r former husband's custody without a struggle. The extent of these patterns of unwi l l i n g behaviour i s uncertain. What i s more c e r t a i n i s that the pressures on separating parents, i n so far as decisions on custody are concerned, are not derived s o l e l y from the re l a t i o n s h i p s involved, but can be traced to expectations of society at la r g e . I agree with the observation of Eekelaar et a l . , i n connection with their study of 625 divorces in v o l v i n g children i n 1974 from ten B r i t i s h courts: 20 'That the wife i s seen as prima f a c i e the proper person to have care of the c h i l d r e n therefore appears as a factor of community opinion which i s shared by the parties themselves.' 81 The strength of these opinions helps to explain the greater 82 tenacity of wives i n custody matters observed by Eekelaar et a l . and the i r reluctance to allow t h e i r husband's custody of the children to 83 stand unchallenged, at l e a s t i n i t i a l l y . I t i s open to question to what extent the importance which a parent attaches to obtaining custody may lead him or her to accept a l e s s favourable f i n a n c i a l settlement i n return for the other parent's assurance that custody w i l l not be contested. I f custody and f i n a n c i a l matters are negotiated together i n this way, p o t e n t i a l l y the economic d i f f i c u l t i e s of custodial mothers w i l l be further exacerbated. i v Single parenthood as an economically d e b i l i t a t i n g experience Single parent f a m i l i e s are not evenly d i s t r i b u t e d across the range of family incomes. On the contrary, they tend to be concentrated within the poorest groups of s o c i e t y . Taking Canada as an example, i t i s noticeable how female-headed sin g l e parent families are over-represented 84 i n the lowest d e c i l e of f a m i l i e s arranged according to income. In 1970, they made up 23.9% of this d e c i l e whereas i n 1980 their share had increased to 36.8%. Over the same period, representation i n the second d e c i l e remained constant at about 14% of the d e c i l e . The poorest f i f t h of Canada's families shared j u s t over a twentieth of the t o t a l income and just over half of these poor families were female-headed s i n g l e parent f a m i l i e s . During the 1970s, the number of female-headed single parent f a m i l i e s has grown fas t e r than the number of two parent f a m i l i e s and the suggestion of the M i n i s t r y of Supply and Services i s that this burgeoning, predominantly young group has displaced the e l d e r l y from the 21 l o w e s t d e c i l e i n t o the second d e c i l e . O l d e r f a m i l i e s no l o n g e r d o m i n a t e the numbers o f the p o o r e s t t e n t h o f C a n a d a ' s f a m i l i e s . I n the U n i t e d K ingdom o v e r the p e r i o d 1971 -1985 , i t i s r e m a r k a b l e t h a t the number o f p e n s i o n e r s i n the l o w e s t q u i n t i l e by income has 86 n e a r l y h a l v e d , d r o p p i n g f r o m 52% to 27%. In the same p e r i o d , the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s i n t h i s p o o r e s t f i f t h o f the p o p u l a t i o n r o s e f rom 5% to 8%. T h e r e i s no d i r e c t c o m p a r i s o n w i t h the C a n a d i a n f i g u r e s s e t o u t above f o r the C a n a d i a n f i g u r e s a r e c o n c e r n e d e x c l u s i v e l y w i t h the income o f f a m i l i e s , g r o u p s o f two o r more r e l a t e d by b l o o d , m a r r i a g e o r a d o p t i o n r e s i d i n g i n the same h o u s e h o l d . N e v e r t h e l e s s , the B r i t i s h f i g u r e s d e m o n s t r a t e the p a t t e r n o f d e c r e a s e i n the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f the e l d e r l y i n the p o o r e s t g roups w i t h an i n c r e a s e i n the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . The C a n a d i a n d a t a a l l o w s some t e l l i n g c o m p a r i s o n s between the f o r t u n e s o f two p a r e n t f a m i l i e s , m a l e - h e a d e d s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s and 87 f e m a l e - h e a d e d s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s to be made. D u r i n g the 1 9 7 0 ' s , the p r o p o r t i o n o f two p a r e n t f a m i l i e s w i t h incomes i n e x c e s s o f $35,000 i n c r e a s e d f r o m 12% to 26%. F o r m a l e - h e a d e d s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s , the p r o p o r t i o n r o s e f rom 7% to 17% but f o r f e m a l e - h e a d e d s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s the comparab le i n c r e a s e was a mere 2% to j u s t o v e r 5%. A t the o t h e r end o f the s p e c t r u m , f e m a l e - h e a d e d s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s were b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h the b a r r i e r o f $10 ,000 a n n u a l income a t a s l o w e r r a t e . In 1980, 47% o f f e m a l e - h e a d e d s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s remained be low t h a t l e v e l , compared w i t h 54% i n 1970 . The p r o p o r t i o n o f m a l e - h e a d e d s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s a t t h a t l e v e l o f income had d ropped d u r i n g the same p e r i o d f r o m 30% to 20%; f o r two p a r e n t f a m i l i e s the f i g u r e s were 18% and 11%. I n d e e d , o v e r the p e r i o d 1970 -80 , the a v e r a g e income o f f ema le 22 sin g l e parents, expressed as a percentage of the average income of a l l 88 Canada's f a m i l i e s , a c t u a l l y dropped from 56% to 52%. What do these figures represent when they are translated into spending power? Inevitably we find that items such as food and sh e l t e r account for a large proportion of the budgets of female-headed single parent f a m i l i e s . B r i g i t t a A r n o t i i d e n t i f i e d food, shelter and c l o t h i n g as basic expenditures and defined a low income family as one which 89 spends more than 58.5% of i t s income on these three items. She found that 68% of ch i l d r e n l i v i n g with their mother only were members of low 90 income families so defined. Maureen Moore refers to a survey of seventeen Canadian c i t i e s i n 1984 which disclosed that, on average, female-headed lone parent f a m i l i e s were spending nearly 50% of their pre-tax income on basic n e c e s s i t i e s whilst comparable expenditures i n two parent families accounted f o r , on average, j u s t over a third of the 91 pre-tax budget. To demonstrate the lower standard of l i v i n g generally experienced by female-headed single parent f a m i l i e s , Moore compares the i r accommodation and household f a c i l i t i e s with those of two parent families 92 with minor c h i l d r e n . She found that 72% of the female s i n g l e parents were renting compared with 27% of the two parent f a m i l i e s and that only 30% l i v e d i n detached dwellings i n contrast to 66% of the two parent 93 f a m i l i e s . With respect to f a c i l i t i e s , nearly a l l Canadian families had r e f r i g e r a t o r s , telephones and t e l e v i s i o n s but female-headed sin g l e parent families l a g s i g n i f i c a n t l y behind the two parent f a m i l i e s i n connection with the a c q u i s i t i o n of microwaves, freezers, dishwashers, 94 washing machines and clothes dryers. This i s surely of some importance with respect to the formulation of p o l i c y for single parent 23 f a m i l i e s . Many single parents find that their domestic commitments i n h i b i t them i n reaching th e i r f u l l p o t e n t i a l i n the labour market but these commitments are made a l l the greater by their lack of labour saving devices. In some respects, the very poverty of so many sing l e parents demands that they spend more time about domestic tasks than other parents, thereby leaving them les s time and energy for a l l e v i a t i n g t h e i r s i t u a t i o n i n the market place. The pattern i s repeated i n Great B r i t a i n . In so f a r as accommodation i s concerned, the l a s t census, i n 1981, discloses that 63% of households headed by married couples are owner occupiers compared 95 with 35% of one parent f a m i l i e s . Of the married couples, 28% rent the i r accommodation from the municipality compared with 54% of the one parent f a m i l i e s . ^ Only 25% of the married couples did not own a car 97 but 59% of the one parent families lack this m o b i l i t y . I t i s not hard to appreciate that l i f e i n many one parent f a m i l i e s must e n t a i l d e n i a l and d e p r i v a t i o n . Children may not understand why they are worse o f f then their contemporaries l i v i n g with both parents and, perhaps more pointedly, they may find t h e i r own deprivations confusing and a source of resentment i f their non-custodial parent i s noticeably better o f f than their c u s t odial parent. One demographic pattern which has contributed to the economically d e b i l i t a t i n g e f f e c t of si n g l e parenthood i s the decreasing prevalence of the extended family. In Canada since World War II i t has become increasingly usual f o r households to contain only two generations; 98 secondary, add i t i o n a l family units are le s s and less normal. In the period between 1951 and 1976, lone parent f a m i l i e s were more l i k e l y than two parent families to be an adjunct within a l a r g e r household, but even 24 the lone parent families are demonstrating their inclination to l i v e 99 separately. What effect does this have? It w i l l probably increase housing costs for the single parent family. Secondly, what is gained i n privacy may be lost in emotional and material support. I t is interesting to speculate whether this tendency to l i v e in a separate unit might be reversed i n areas in which housing is particularly expensive, for example the South-East of England or the Lower Mainland of B r i t i s h Columbia, thereby providing the single parent with additional sources of support. It is on the most common sources of support for single parents that I w i l l next focus attention. 25 Foo tno tes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. N.D. Hunter, 'Child Support Law and P o l i c y : the Systematic Imposition of Costs on Women' (1983) 6 Harvard Women's Law Journal 1 at p 17. J.M. Eekelaar, 'Family Law and So c i a l Problems' (1984) 34 Uni v e r s i t y of Toronto Law Journal 236 a t p 240. Loc. c i t . . Eekelaar, supra, footnote 2 at p 242. He i s not putting the case againt s o c i a l intervention, however. Dr. Adrian Rogers of the Conservative Family Campaign quoted on p 21 of The Times f o r May 26th, 1989. Eekelaar, supra, footnote 2 at p 242. This idea of c h i l d r e n as deserving poor and the explanation for this c l a s s i f i c a t i o n Is put forward by W. Trattner i n 'From Poor Law to Welfare State' (1984). D.J. West, The Young Offender (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1967) at p 69. T.P. Monahan, 'Family Status and the Delinquent C h i l d ' (1957) 35 Soc i a l forces 250, discussed i n West, supra, footnote 8 at p 71. West, supra, footnote 8 at p 73. M. H a r r i s , P. McDonald and R. Weston, 'Payment of Child Maintenance i n A u s t r a l i a ' (1987) 1 International Journal of Law and the Family 92 at p 100. In 1984, i t climbed to a figu r e i n the region of $25 b i l l i o n . 1983 United States P r e s i d e n t i a l Proclamation. Cmnd 9678 (London: HMS0 1956). Supra, footnote 14 at para 42. Supra, footnote 14 at para 44. Supra, footnote 14 at para 47. O.R. McGregor, Divorce i n England (London: Heinemann 1957) es p e c i a l l y Chapter 6. McGregor, supra, footnote 18 at p x of the preface. 26 20. Report of the Committee on One-Parent Families (The Finer Report). Cmnd 5629 (London: HMSO 1974). 21. Supra, footnote 20 at para 3.35. 22» Supra, footnote 20 at para 3.43. 23. W. Latey, The Tide of Divorce (London: Longman 1970). 24. Finer Report, supra, footnote 20 at para 3.35. 25. Morton Commission, supra, footnote 14 at para 37. Latey, supra, footnote 23 at p 145 et seq.. 26. C. Banks, 'Boys i n Detention Centres' i n C. Banks and P.L. Broadhurst, eds, Studies i n Psychology (London: London Un i v e r s i t y Press 1965), discussed i n West, supra, footnote 8 at p 72. 27. T. Ferguson, The Young Delinquent i n h i s So c i a l Setting (Oxford: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press 1952) at p 22. 28. See West, supra, footnote 8 at p 72. 29. P. L a s l e t t , Family L i f e and I l l i c i t Love i n E a r l i e r Generations (Cambridge: Cambridge University press 1977) at chapter 4. 30. Supra, footnote 29 a t p 161. 31. L a s l e t t , supra, footnote 29 at p 162. 32. L a s l e t t , supra, footnote 29 at p 164. 33. L a s l e t t , supra, footnote 29 at p 169. Supra, footnote 29 a t p 170. 35. D. Levine and K. Wrightson, 'The Social Context of I l l e g i t i m a c y i n E a r l y Modern England' i n P. L a s l e t t , K. Oosterveen and R.M. Smith, eds, Bastardy and i t s Comparative History (London: Arnold 1980) at p 158. 36. Loc. c i t . . 37. See P. L a s l e t t , 'The Bastardy Prone Sub-Society' i n L a s l e t t , Oosterveen and Smith, eds, supra, footnote 35. 38. Supra, footnote 35. 39. Levine and Wrightson, supra, footnote 35 at p 165. 40. Levine and Wrightson, supra, footnote 35 at p 168. 41. P. L a s l e t t , supra, footnote 37 at p 238. 27 42. Loc. c i t . . 43. See the suggestion of L a s l e t t , Oosterveen and Smith, supra, footnote 35 at p 3. 44. Canada's Lone-Parent Families (Ottawa: Minis t e r of Supply and Services T9~84~57 S t a t i s t i c s Canada reference 99-933. See 'Main Trends' d i s c u s s i o n . 45. Loc. c i t . . 46. Loc. c i t . . 47. M. Moore, 'Female Lone Parenthood', Canadian So c i a l Trends (Autumn 1988) S t a t i s t i c s Canada reference ll -66~8E~at p 41. " 48. Loc. c i t . . 49. In England and Wales, the age i n 1974 was 24.5 years whereas i n 1984 i t had r i s e n to 25.8 years. S o c i a l Trends 16 (London: HMSO 1986) at p 42. 50. Supra, footnote 29 a t p 164. 51* Supra, footnote 47 at p 41. 52* Loc. c i t . . 53. S o c i a l Trends 18 (London: HMSO 1988) at p 46. 54. Moore, supra, footnote 47 at p 42. 55. Loc. c i t . . 56. 77% of those separated or divorced women who were no longer single parents had formed new unions. For widows, the figu r e i s 59%. See Moore, supra, footnote 47 at p 42. 57. L o c . c i t . . 58. See generally The Finer Report, supra, footnote 20, Part 3 passim. 59. Moore, supra, footnote 47 at p 42. 60. Loc. c i t . . 61. Loc. c i t . . 62. Canada's Lone-Parent Families, supra, footnote 44. 63. Loc. c i t . 64. Loc c i t . . 28 65. .Canada's Lone-Parent Families, supra, footnote 44, Table 1. 66. Canada's Lone-Parent Families, supra, footnote 44, 'Introduction' and 'Main Trends'. 67. Pjopulation Trends 55 (London: OPCS 1988). 68. See Soci a l Trends 16 (London: HMSO 1986) at p 35. 69. S o c i a l Trends 18, supra, footnote 53 at p 38. 70. M. Richards, 'Post-Divorce Arrangements for Children: a Psychological Perspective' (1982) Journal of So c i a l Welfare Law 133 at p 136. 71. See Soci a l Trends 18, supra, footnote 53 at p 39. 72. See Soci a l Trends 16, sugra, footnote 68 at p 36. 73. L.J.Weitzman, The Divorce Revolution (New York: Free Press 1985) at p 255. 74. Loc. c i t . . 75. Weitzman, supra, footnote 73, Chapter 8 passim but e s p e c i a l l y at pp 261-2. 76. Dipper v Ddpj>er [1980] 2 A l l ER 722, a dec i s i o n of the En g l i s h Court of Appeal, suggests that a non-custodial parent retains such a r i g h t to p a r t i c i p a t e i n any event. 7 7 . Supra, footnote 73, Chapter 8, e s p e c i a l l y at p 262. 78. J.A. P r i e s t and J.C. Whybrow, 'Custody Law i n Pra c t i c e i n the Divorce and Domestic Courts', supplement to Law Commission Working Paper No.96, 'Review of Child Law: Custody' (London: HMSO 1986), see e s p e c i a l l y f i g F.4. 79. Loc. c i t . . 80. Supra., footnote 70 at p 136. 81. J.M. Eekelaar and E. C l i v e with K. Clarke and S. Raikes, Custody a f t e r Divorce (Oxford: Centre f o r Socio-Legal Studies 1977) para 3.6. 82. Loc. c i t . . 83. Loc. c i t . . 84. Changes i n Income i n Canada: 1970-1980 (Ministry of Supply and Services; 1984) S t a t i s t i c s Canada reference 99-141, Table 4. 29 85. Supra, footnote 84, see discussion of Table 4. 86. Soc i a l Trends 18, supra, footnote 53 at p 95. 87. Sup_ra, footnote 84, Table 1. 88. Sup_ra, footnote 84. 89. B. Arn o t i , 'Children i n Low Income Families' i n Canadian  Soc i a l Trends, Winter 1986. 90. Loc. c i t . 91. M. Moore, 'Women Parenting Alone' i n Canadian So c i a l Trends, Winter 1987 p 31 at p 35. 92. Supra, footnote 91 at p 34. 93. Loc. c i t . . 94. Loc. c i t . . 95. See the Central S t a t i s t i c a l O f f i c e ' s Annual Abstract of S t a t i s t i c s (1988 e d i t i o n ) , Table 3.37. 96. L o c . c i t . . 97. Loc. c i t . . 98. Canada's Lone-Parent Families, supra, footnote 44. 99. Loc. c i t . . 30 CHAPTER 2 SOURCES OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES H a v i n g g a t h e r e d and p r e s e n t e d s u f f i c i e n t d a t a to p l a c e s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s i n a b road s o c i a l and economic c o n t e x t , I p r o p o s e to examine the n i c h e o c c u p i e d by so many s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s i n more d e t a i l . Why do they have a c c e s s to so few f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e s ? What a r e t h e i r s o u r c e s o f f i n a n c i a l s u p p o r t a t p r e s e n t ? What a r e the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f p o l i c i e s w h i c h seek to emphas ise one o r o t h e r f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e ? I s h a l l examine f e a t u r e s o f the major s o u r c e s o f f i n a n c i a l s u p p o r t and I s h a l l seek to d e m o n s t r a t e t h a t to f o c u s on one s o u r c e o f s u p p o r t r a t h e r t h a n a n o t h e r i s to d i s c l o s e i d e o l o g i c a l p r e f e r e n c e s . F i r s t , some major f e a t u r e s o f the c o n t e m p o r a r y d a t a w i l l be e x a m i n e d . 1• A G e n e r a l O v e r v i e w In 1985, the L a b o u r and H o u s e h o l d S u r v e y s A n a l y s i s D i v i s i o n o f S t a t i s t i c s Canada c o n d u c t e d a s u r v e y o f consumer f i n a n c e s . ' ' " I t was found t h a t , on a v e r a g e , f e m a l e - h e a d e d s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s o b t a i n e d o n l y 64% o f t o t a l income f r o m e a r n i n g s compared w i t h 87% f o r two p a r e n t f a m i l i e s w i t h c h i l d r e n . V a r i o u s forms o f government a s s i s t a n c e were o v e r t h r e e t imes more i m p o r t a n t to the f e m a l e - h e a d e d s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y than they were to the a v e r a g e two p a r e n t f a m i l y w i t h c h i l d r e n : t r a n s f e r s f r o m the s t a t e c o m p r i s e d 24% o f the t o t a l income o f s u c h f a m i l i e s compared w i t h o n l y 7% o f the t o t a l income o f the a v e r a g e two 2 p a r e n t f a m i l y w i t h c h i l d r e n . 31 In B r i t a i n the picture i s even more stark. There does not appear to have been an attempt to i l l u s t r a t e the proportions i n which the various sources of finance contribute to an average family budget but there are other pertinent data. Considering s i n g l e parents of both sexes, very few r e l y on maintenance payments as a p r i n c i p a l source of 3 income: the figu r e has recently been variously stated as 6% or one i n 4 f i f t e e n . I t i s estimated that about a quarter are s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t , r e l y i n g on earnings or other private sources including maintenance, and that about three quarters receive state benefits 'amounting to an annual burden for the taxpayer of £3.4 b i l l i o n ' . " ' I t i s this so-called burden which i s leading policy-makers to consider whether s i n g l e parents can be coaxed towards dependence on other sources of income than transfers from government. 6 The motivation behind such p o l i c i e s i s not simply humanitarian but, as Eekelaar has pointed out, economic grounds f o r state intervention i n private r e l a t i o n s have a lengthy pedigree. 7 One d i r e c t i o n i n which the sing l e parent might be guided i s that of economic independence by p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the labour market. 2• Earnings as a Source of F i n a n c i a l Support What does the single parent find on looking to the market f or economic support? Many w i l l f i n d i t unwelcoming. This i s e s p e c i a l l y true for those separated or divorced mothers who have devoted themselves to work within the home. Widows can fi n d themselves i n a s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n . Their housework and caring for the chi l d r e n i s b e n e f i c i a l for the household but the labour market a t t r i b u t e s l i t t l e value to such tasks. As a consequence, the spouse who has provided l i t t l e to the 32 household by way of direct cash injection to the household economy i s l i k e l y to suffer most when forced to enter the market-place on the g termination of support from within the former household. By concentrating i n i t i a l l y on those single parents who have been part of two parent families, I do not mean to imply that the single parent who has given bir th to a child outside a supportive relationship is in an appreciably superior position in the labour market. I t is simply that her position is l i k e l y to be different to that of the former group, whose p o s s i b i l i t i e s of success in the labour market may well have been severely limited by the way in which responsibil i t ies were shared during their married years. Ellman identifies a pressure to adopt special is t roles within 9 marriage. It is often economically rational to specialise . If the spouses attempt a wholehearted sharing of the role of homemaker, this may prejudice the amount of time and effort that they can put into their jobs. This lower level of success in the labour market is quite consistent with a greater satisfaction with the relationship, but may result in a lower joint income than could be attained i f the spouse with the potentially higher earning capacity was given a free rein to cultivate that c a p a c i t y . ^ If economic rat ionali ty carries the day, the homemaker spouse, usually the wife, risks severe prejudice to her own individual position within the labour market and has to trust that she w i l l recover her investment in her husband's career in future y e a r s . ^ One can argue that i t should be the goal of the rules governing financial provision,after divorce to ensure that there is no economic incentive to adopt anything other than the most economically rational 12 behaviour within marriage. However, for the present, marital 33 d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g i s overshadowed by the h i g h e r economic v a l u e a t t a c h e d to c a r e e r enhancement t h a n to l a b o u r i n the home. The economic p r e j u d i c e a r i s i n g o u t o f d o m e s t i c o r g a n i s a t i o n o f l a b o u r i s u s u a l l y s u s t a i n e d by the w i f e b u t D u c l o s i s r i g h t to remind us t h a t the woman who l o o k s to the l a b o u r market f o r her h o u s e h o l d ' s s u p p o r t , e s p e c i a l l y l a t e r i n l i f e , i s a t a d i s a d v a n t a g e f o r r e a s o n s 13 o t h e r than h e r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n d o m e s t i c l i f e . T h e r e r e m a i n b a r r i e r s to women a c h i e v i n g t h e i r p o t e n t i a l w i t h i n the l a b o u r m a r k e t , many o f w h i c h a r i s e f r o m a p e r c e p t i o n o f f e m a l e w o r k e r s as s h o r t - t e r m employees who w i l l soon r e t u r n to d o m e s t i c d u t i e s on a f u l l - t i m e b a s i s . Employment s t r u c t u r e s w h i c h demand c o n t i n u o u s f u l l - t i m e work f o r f o r t y y e a r s a r e n o t s y m p a t h e t i c to the needs o f women g e n e r a l l y and s i n g l e p a r e n t s i n p a r t i c u l a r . U n l e s s the l a b o u r marke t becomes more r e c e p t i v e to the p o s s i b i l i t y o f a range o f commitments to employment , t h r o u g h schemes s u c h as j o b - s h a r i n g and r e t r a i n i n g a f t e r temporary a b s e n c e s , i t i s d i f f i c u l t to see how s i n g l e p a r e n t s can be e x p e c t e d to s u p p o r t t h e m s e l v e s and t h e i r h o u s e h o l d s a d e q u a t e l y by t h e i r own e n d e a v o u r s . A s y s t e m w h i c h r e s e r v e s i t s g r e a t e s t economic rewards f o r those whose w o r k i n g l i v e s have been u n i n t e r r u p t e d i s n o t g o i n g to accommodate p a r e n t h o o d e a s i l y . As a c o n s e q u e n c e , many s i n g l e p a r e n t s f i n d t h e m s e l v e s w o r k i n g be low t h e i r t r u e p o t e n t i a l i n i n s e c u r e , u n d e s i r a b l e p o s i t i o n s and t h e i r s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e may d i m i n i s h as a r e s u l t . D e s p i t e t h i s image o f the h o s t i l i t y o f the l a b o u r marke t to s i n g l e p a r e n t s , i t must be a p p r e c i a t e d t h a t p a t t e r n s o f f e m a l e employment v a r y t h r o u g h o u t the W e s t e r n w o r l d and t h a t some c o u n t r i e s have adopted s o c i a l p o l i c i e s w h i c h more a c t i v e l y e n c o u r a g e the fema le s i n g l e p a r e n t to p r o v i d e f o r h e r h o u s e h o l d t h r o u g h e a r n i n g s . 1 ^ In C a n a d a , l a b o u r f o r c e 34 p a r t i c i p a t i o n r a t e s amongst women, even those w i t h young c h i l d r e n , a r e i n c r e a s i n g . ^ Over 40% o f the f e m a l e w o r k - f o r c e has n o t e x p e r i e n c e d an i n t e r r u p t i o n o f work; o f those who h a d , the women who had n e v e r m a r r i e d were l e s s numerous than the women who e i t h e r were o r had been m a r r i e d . * 6 W h i l s t c o n c e d i n g t h a t f a m i l y c o n s i d e r a t i o n s a r e an i m p o r t a n t f a c t o r i n e x p l a i n i n g d i s c o n t i n u i t y o f f e m a l e employment , the c o n c l u s i o n o f the a n a l y s i s was t h a t t h e r e i s no ground f o r an employer to assume t h a t women w i l l i n t e r r u p t t h e i r e m p l o y m e n t . * 7 I n G r e a t B r i t a i n , a d i f f e r e n t p a t t e r n o f economic a c t i v i t y i s e n c o u n t e r e d . The G e n e r a l H o u s e h o l d S u r v e y p r o v i d e s d a t a c o n c e r n i n g the employment s t a t u s o f m a r r i e d mothers and l o n e mothers d u r i n g the p e r i o d 18 1982 -84 . The s i n g l e p a r e n t s were l e s s l i k e l y to be employed than the m a r r i e d m o t h e r s : 61% o f the l o n e mothers were n o t employed compared w i t h 51% o f the m a r r i e d m o t h e r s . When the y o u n g e s t c h i l d i s under f i v e , the f i g u r e s r i s e to 83% o f the l o n e mothers and 74% o f the m a r r i e d mothers n o t i n employment . W h i l s t s i m i l a r p r o p o r t i o n s o f b o t h g roups work f u l l - t i m e , i t i s n o t i c e a b l e how s i g n i f i c a n t l y fewer o f the l o n e mothers manage p a r t - t i m e employment . O n l y 22% o f the l o n e mothers work 19 p a r t - t i m e compared w i t h 35% o f the m a r r i e d m o t h e r s . By the t ime o f the L a b o u r F o r c e S u r v e y i n 1986, o n l y 19% o f the 20 l o n e mothers were w o r k i n g p a r t - t i m e . The p r o p o r t i o n w o r k i n g f u l l - t i m e . 2 1 had a l s o d r o p p e d s i n c e the G e n e r a l H o u s e h o l d S u r v e y , f rom 17% to 22 15.4%. Lone f a t h e r s , w h i l s t n o t h a v i n g the same r a t e o f economic a c t i v i t y as the husbands i n m a r r i e d c o u p l e s w i t h d e p e n d e n t c h i l d r e n , were much more e c o n o m i c a l l y a c t i v e than t h e i r f e m a l e c o u n t e r p a r t s . Of the l o n e f a t h e r s , 53.4% were f u l l - t i m e employees o r s e l f - e m p l o y e d and 3.4% were p a r t - t i m e e m p l o y e e s . T h i s compares w i t h a mere 17.5% o f l o n e 35 mothers who were f u l l - t i m e employees or self-employed and 19% who were 23 part-time employees. 24 Why should 63% of B r i t i s h lone mothers i n 1986 have no job or be otherwise economically inactive? We have already noted how t r a d i t i o n a l employment structures are unaccommodating and how female single parents w i l l be subject to the same d i f f i c u l t i e s as women generally i n the labour market. One such d i f f i c u l t y i s the paucity of day-care provision compared with countries such as Denmark where s o c i a l p o l i c i e s have been 25 geared to coaxing the female single parent into employment. Disincentives to employment are not only l o g i s t i c a l or due to d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , however. The Department of Health and So c i a l Security has produced figures which show how increases i n gross earnings can lead to a decrease i n net weekly spending power due to loss of state 2 6 be n e f i t s . Before low-income sin g l e parent f a m i l i e s w i l l f i n d i t worthwhile to improve their earnings, such absurdities must be ironed out. A f t e r a review of other sources of f i n a n c i a l support, consideration w i l l be given to the place of employment po l i c y within possible solutions to the problems of single parent f a m i l i e s . 3. Matrimonial Property as a Source of F i n a n c i a l Support When sing l e parenthood a r i s e s due to separation or divorce, i t i s l i k e l y that the single parent w i l l benefit to some extent from the d i v i s i o n of the couple's assets. Where the marriage i s dissolved and the formerly married couple cannot agree how to d i v i d e the assets, the d i v i s i o n w i l l be made by the court on a p p l i c a t i o n by one of the parties 27 i n accordance with a statutory scheme. I f the parents are unmarried, 36 the E n g l i s h c o u r t s have power to o r d e r e i t h e r p a r e n t to t r a n s f e r s p e c i f i e d p r o p e r t y to the c h i l d o r to the o t h e r p a r e n t f o r the b e n e f i t 28 o f the c h i l d , o r to s e t t l e s p e c i f i e d p r o p e r t y on the c h i l d , b u t a p a r t f rom t h i s s t a t u t o r y power f o r the c h i l d ' s b e n e f i t , the c o u r t s have no 29 power to a d j u s t the p a r e n t s ' p r o p r i e t a r y i n t e r e s t s . In B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , u n m a r r i e d c o u p l e s a r e e x p r e s s l y e x c l u d e d f rom the s t a t u t o r y 30 scheme g o v e r n i n g d i v i s i o n o f m a t r i m o n i a l p r o p e r t y b u t i t may be t h a t 31 the g r e a t e r r e c o g n i t i o n o f the c o n s t r u c t i v e t r u s t as a r e m e d i a l d e v i c e has the p o t e n t i a l to m i t i g a t e the r i g o r o u s a p p r o a c h adopted i n E n g l a n d to the p r o p r i e t a r y r i g h t s o f u n m a r r i e d c o h a b i t e e s , whereby they a r e 32 t r e a t e d as i f they were s t r a n g e r s to e a c h o t h e r . To those who become s i n g l e p a r e n t s due to the o t h e r p a r e n t ' s d e a t h , p r o p e r t y w i l l d e v o l v e i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h the p r o v i s o n s o f the w i l l o r the i n t e s t a c y r u l e s . In some j u r i s d i c t i o n s , the widow o r widower and c h i l d r e n may a p p l y f o r improved p r o v i s i o n o u t o f the e s t a t e . In 33 E n g l a n d , the s t a t u t o r y scheme p e r m i t s the s u r v i v i n g spouse to a p p l y to c o u r t f o r r e a s o n a b l e f i n a n c i a l p r o v i s o n , 'whether o r n o t t h a t p r o v i s i o n 34 i s r e q u i r e d f o r h i s o r h e r m a i n t e n a n c e ' . The d e c e a s e d ' s c h i l d , on the o t h e r h a n d , may o n l y a p p l y to c o u r t f o r r e a s o n a b l e f i n a n c i a l p r o v i s i o n 35 f o r the p u r p o s e o f ' h i s m a i n t e n a n c e ' . The c o u r t s have f o l l o w e d the 36 Law C o m m i s s i o n ' s l e a d by t a k i n g n o t e , i n q u a n t i f y i n g the c l a i m s o f a s u r v i v i n g s p o u s e , o f what the c l a i m a n t c o u l d r e a s o n a b l y have e x p e c t e d to 37 r e c e i v e i f the m a r r i a g e had ended i n d i v o r c e . The s u r v i v i n g u n m a r r i e d p a r t n e r o f the d e c e a s e d i s l i m i t e d to a p p l y i n g f o r p r o v i s i o n r e a s o n a b l e 38 f o r h i s o r h e r m a i n t e n a n c e and then o n l y i f he o r she c a n d e m o n s t r a t e 39 economic dependence on the d e c e a s e d . 37 I t i s q u e s t i o n a b l e how v a l u a b l e a s o u r c e o f s u p p o r t a r e the a s s e t s o f the f o r m e r r e l a t i o n s h i p . E e k e l a a r and M a c l e a n , who i n v e s t i g a t e d a s t r u c t u r e d sample o f 229 p e o p l e i n B r i t a i n who had been d i v o r c e d s i n c e 1971, found t h a t f o r many f a m i l i e s the d i v i s i o n o f m a t r i m o n i a l a s s e t s 40 was i r r e l e v a n t . Mossman and M a c l e a n ' s c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f the s i t u a t i o n o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s i n O n t a r i o l e a d s them to a s i m i l a r c o n c l u s i o n : the p r i n c i p l e s g o v e r n i n g the d i v i s i o n o f m a t r i m o n i a l p r o p e r t y a r e 41 r e l e v a n t o n l y to the w e a l t h i e r f a m i l i e s . They s u g g e s t t h a t c o u p l e s d i v o r c i n g i n t h e i r t h i r t i e s a f t e r f i v e to f i f t e e n y e a r s o f m a r r i a g e w i l l be u n l i k e l y to have much p r o p e r t y and s a v i n g s i f they have had c h i l d r e n _ 42 to s u p p o r t . I f i t i s c o r r e c t t h a t o n l y a s m a l l p e r c e n t a g e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s have a c l a i m to s i g n i f i c a n t a s s e t s a t the d i s s o l u t i o n o f m a r r i a g e , a d v a n c i n g the t h e o r e t i c a l e n t i t l e m e n t o f women to m a t r i m o n i a l a s s e t s w i l l a c h i e v e l i t t l e , e s p e c i a l l y i f i t i s a t the expense o f e n t i t l e m e n t to m a i n t e n a n c e . E e k e l a a r s u g g e s t s t h a t , f o r the w e a l t h i e r c l a s s e s , the o r i g i n o f the h u s b a n d ' s d u t y to m a i n t a i n the w i f e l i e s i n the f a c t t h a t she o r h e r f a m i l y w i l l have p r o v i d e d the husband w i t h c o n s i d e r a b l e 43 p r o p e r t y on m a r r i a g e . F o r t h e s e p e o p l e , the d u t y to m a i n t a i n i s a r e c o g n i t i o n o f the w i f e ' s r i g h t to s h a r e i n t h i s p r o p e r t y . Mossman and M a c l e a n f o l l o w up t h i s n o t i o n : ' t h e p r i n c i p l e o f a w i f e ' s e n t i t l e m e n t to l i f e - l o n g f i n a n c i a l s u p p o r t seems to have d e v e l o p e d as a c o r o l l a r y to her l a c k o f e n t i t l e m e n t to p r o p e r t y , and to h e r i n a b i l i t y to e a r n a l i v i n g . ' 44 I f the w i f e i s g i v e n p r o p r i e t a r y r i g h t s , does she any l o n g e r need o r d e s e r v e p r o v i s i o n by way o f income? A r e the two e l e m e n t s , p r o p e r t y and i n c o m e , s y n c h r o n i s e d i n t h i s way? 38 It is argued here that no such equilibrium exists . In those cases where resources permit, a moderate property award for a single parent can be disadvantageous in the long term. In the f i r s t place, assets which have been awarded to the single parent with a view to giving her some security against the problems associated with marital breakdown may be regarded by the welfare system as available to provide an income. For the single parent on welfare, assets provided on marital breakdown can be steadily depleted due to the c o l l i s i o n of the principles of family law and social assistance. The security given by the former 45 system can be undermined by the l a t t e r . Secondly, the award of income is potentially more valuable. To regard the divis ion of matrimonial property as equally important is to plot the route to impoverishment. Lenore Weitzman, in her study of divorced couples in San Francisco and Los Angeles, found that ' i n just one year the average divorcing couple can earn more money than the total 46 value of their assets. ' The point is that earning capacity Is often much more valuable than the tangible assets. Weitzman comes to the nub of the matter when she writes that '[t]oday we invest in ourselves and 47 in our a b i l i t y to earn future income'. An award of property does nothing to divide the future income of the major earner, usually the husband, i n whose career both spouses w i l l have invested i f he has been freed from domestic obligations to advance his career. If awards of matrimonial property are small in comparison to earning capacity, i t is plain that the partner who has sustained an economic disadvantage by adopting a course of conduct which furthers the other's career has not received the expected return on that investment. 39 A t h e o r y o f m a i n t e n a n c e f o r s e p a r a t e d and d i v o r c e d s p o u s e s based upon an a n a l o g y w i t h i n v e s t m e n t s i s open to immedia te o b j e c t i o n i n t h a t some i n v e s t m e n t s come to f r u i t i o n and o t h e r s do n o t . The i n v e s t o r i s i n a r i s k y b u s i n e s s . However , to e x p e c t the s p o u s e to a p p r o a c h m a r i t a l d e c i s i o n s as a s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d i n v e s t o r i s a c t i v e l y to d i s c o u r a g e the s o r t o f m a r i t a l s h a r i n g b e h a v i o u r w h i c h , as E l l m a n a r g u e s , can be f o r the l o n g - t e r m b e n e f i t o f the h o u s e h o l d , e c o n o m i c a l l y and perhaps i n 48 o t h e r w a y s . However , e v e n i f the n o t i o n o f one p a r t n e r r e a p i n g the b e n e f i t o f a l o n g - t e r m i n v e s t m e n t i s r e g a r d e d as f a r - f e t c h e d and abandoned i n f a v o u r o f the s t a n d a r d o f the need o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t and her h o u s e h o l d , awards o f p r o p e r t y s t i l l make an i n s u b s t a n t i a l c o n t r i b u t i o n i n the l o n g t e r m . T h i s i s b e c a u s e the o b t a i n i n g o f , l e t us s a y , s o l e t i t l e to the f o r m e r m a t r i m o n i a l home d o e s n o t put food i n the c h i l d r e n ' s s t o m a c h s . A house may g i v e r e s i d e n t i a l s e c u r i t y b u t , u n l e s s t h e r e a r e no c h a r g e s on the p r o p e r t y , t h a t s e c u r i t y i s n o t a s i m p l e m a t t e r o f a t r a n s f e r o f t i t l e . The r e s i d e n t i a l s e c u r i t y i s o b t a i n e d by h a v i n g enough income to pay the r e n t o r mor tgage and a l l the o t h e r o u t g o i n g s . The same a n a l y s i s c o u l d be a p p l i e d to the o b t a i n i n g o f the f a m i l y c a r : the o r d e r t r a n s f e r r i n g the p r o p e r t y i s o n l y a p a r t o f the a s s u r a n c e o f p e r s o n a l m o b i l i t y ; w i t h o u t income w i t h w h i c h to r u n the c a r , i t r e m a i n s an i m m o b i l e m e t a l l i c s h e l l . My argument i s t h a t awards o f p r o p e r t y s h o u l d be r e g a r d e d as the g i l t on the g i n g e r b r e a d o f an a s s u r e d , c o m f o r t a b l e l e v e l o f i n c o m e , n o t as a n a p p r o p r i a t e s u b s t i t u t e f o r t h a t i n c o m e . The image o f a s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y w i t h l i t t l e income b u t s u b s t a n t i a l a s s e t s i s l a r g e l y f i c t i o n a l . E v e n i f t h i s were the i n i t i a l p o s i t i o n , the a s s e t s wou ld be 40 depleted due to the operation of s o c i a l assistance regulations or t h e i r simple u n a f f o r d a b i l i t y . The A u s t r a l i a n I n s t i t u t e of Family Studies surveyed a sample of people divorced in the state of V i c t o r i a i n 1981 and 1983 and found that 'income poverty tended to correspond with 49 r e l a t i v e deprivation i n assets.' There are other reasons why, as a source of support for s i n g l e parent f a m i l i e s , property d i s t r i b u t i o n s are of l i m i t e d value. I t i s possible to argue persuasively that the d e f i n i t i o n of property has t r a d i t i o n a l l y been far too r e s t r i c t i v e . " ^ So many entitlements and benefits associated with work are excluded. This goes for degrees and other q u a l i f i c a t i o n s which enhance earning capacity and i n which the other partner may have invested, or to which she may have contributed by taking on more domestic work, depending on the choice of metaphor. In this way, by f a i l i n g f u l l y to recognise the value of the major wage-earner's career, the other partner loses i n the d i v i s i o n of assets even i f , on the face of i t , the d i v i s i o n i s equal. Such formal equality counts for nought i f the p r i n c i p a l asset, earning capacity, i s put to one side. Property d i s t r i b u t i o n s are therefore over-rated as a source of support for si n g l e parent f a m i l i e s . Property i s a v a i l a b l e to only c e r t a i n groups of si n g l e parent f a m i l i e s and, i n the case of those to whom i t i s a v a i l a b l e , i t w i l l r a r e l y displace the necessity to e s t a b l i s h an assured source of income. 4. Maintenance Payments as a Source of F i n a n c i a l Support We have already observed in the general overview of sources of f i n a n c i a l support that very few si n g l e parent f a m i l i e s have maintenance 41 payments as t h e i r p r i n c i p a l s o u r c e o f i n c o m e . P e r i o d i c a l payments c a n be c l a i m e d by the s i n g l e p a r e n t f rom the o t h e r p a r e n t f o r the s u p p o r t o f the c h i l d r e n whether s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d has a r i s e n due to a b i r t h o u t s i d e w e d l o c k , s e p a r a t i o n o f the p a r e n t s o r d i v o r c e . T h i s i s the p o s i t i o n i n b o t h B r i t a i n and C a n a d a . ' ' * The d i v o r c e d s i n g l e p a r e n t may a l s o seek 52 p e r i o d i c a l payments f o r h e r s e l f . T h i s i s a l s o the c a s e f o r the 53 s e p a r a t e d , b u t m a r r i e d , s i n g l e p a r e n t . However , t h e r e a r e d i f f e r e n c e s between the j u r i s d i c t i o n s i n the c a s e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t who i s n o t and has n e v e r been m a r r i e d to the o t h e r p a r e n t . I n B r i t a i n , s u c h a s i n g l e p a r e n t c a n n o t seek an o r d e r f o r p e r i o d i c a l payments f o r h e r own b e n e f i t . I n B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , on the o t h e r h a n d , t h e r e i s j u r i s d i c t i o n to make s u c h an o r d e r i f the c o u p l e have ' l i v e d t o g e t h e r as husband and w i f e f o r a p e r i o d o f n o t l e s s than 2 y e a r s ' and the a p p l i c a t i o n i s made ' n o t more than one y e a r a f t e r the d a t e t h e y c e a s e d l i v i n g t o g e t h e r as husband and w i f e ' . " ' ^ V i e w i n g the q u e s t i o n o f e n t i t l e m e n t to p e r i o d i c a l payments u n i n h i b i t e d by l e g a l t r a d i t i o n , i t i s n o t i m m e d i a t e l y o b v i o u s why o r how c o n t r i b u t i o n s by the a b s e n t p a r e n t o f the h o u s e h o l d o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t a r e n o t i o n a l l y a t t r i b u t e d to p a r t i c u l a r members o f t h a t h o u s e h o l d . In o r d e r p r o p e r l y to l o o k a f t e r the c h i l d r e n , the c a r e g i v i n g p a r e n t a l s o needs s u s t e n a n c e . More to the p o i n t , t h e r e c a n n o t be d i f f e r e n t s t a n d a r d s o f l i v i n g w i t h i n the same h o u s e h o l d . What i s a h o u s e h o l d i f n o t a g r o u p o f p e o p l e s h a r i n g the same s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g ? In so f a r as payments f o r a c h i l d improve t h a t c h i l d ' s s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g , they a l s o i m p r o v e t h a t o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t . I t i s n o t d i f f i c u l t to d i s c e r n the o r i g i n o f the o f t hea rd r e f r a i n o f so many p a y i n g p a r e n t s t h a t money f o r the c h i l d r e n b e n e f i t s the o t h e r p a r e n t as much as the c h i l d . What they 42 say i s p r o b a b l y t r u e and i n e v i t a b l y s o . As E e k e l a a r and M a c l e a n so r i g h t l y p o i n t o u t : ' [ T ] o s u p p o s e t h a t the i n c r e m e n t s [ to m a i n t e n a n c e payments o r b e n e f i t e n t i t l e m e n t s , n o t i o n a l l y f o r dependent c h i l d r e n ] can i n any way s e n s i b l y c o r r e s p o n d to the needs o f the i n d i v i d u a l c h i l d r e n , i n i s o l a t i o n , i s to i g n o r e e l e m e n t a r y p r i n c i p l e s o f f i n a n c i n g and m a r g i n a l c o s t i n g . ' 55 A g a i n s t the argument t h a t no d i s t i n c t i o n can s e n s i b l y be drawn between p e r i o d i c a l payments f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t and p e r i o d i c a l payments f o r the c h i l d r e n i n the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s h o u s e h o l d , i t can be c a n v a s s e d w h e t h e r i t i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y more s a t i s f a c t o r y f o r b o t h p a r e n t s i f as g r e a t a p r o p o r t i o n o f the t r a n s f e r o f income as p o s s i b l e i s n o t i o n a l l y a t t r i b u t e d to the c h i l d r e n . P e r h a p s the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t w i l l be more l i k e l y to pay i f the f o r m a l p o s i t i o n i s t h a t the payments a r e f o r the c h i l d r e n , r a t h e r than f o r the f o r m e r s p o u s e . A l s o , i t c o u l d be t h a t d e s c r i b i n g payments as f o r the ' c h i l d r e n p r o v i d e s a welcome emphas is to the c o n t i n u i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f the p a r e n t f o r the c h i l d r e n , w h i l s t a t the same t ime somewhat d i s g u i s i n g any c o n t i n u e d dependence o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t on the p a y i n g p a r e n t . How p a y i n g and r e c e i v i n g p a r e n t s p e r c e i v e the t r a n s f e r o f income between them i s p r o b a b l y a v e r y i m p o r t a n t f a c t o r i n d e t e r m i n i n g w h e t h e r payment w i l l be made a t a l l . T h e r e f o r e , some c a u t i o n s h o u l d be e x e r c i s e d b e f o r e d i s c a r d i n g the p r e s e n t n o m e n c l a t u r e i n f a v o u r o f a l a b e l s u c h as ' h o u s e h o l d m a i n t e n a n c e ' o r ' c a r e a l l o w a n c e ' . A more amorphous d e s c r i p t i o n may c a p t u r e the economic r e a l i t y more a c c u r a t e l y b u t may have unwelcome c o n n o t a t i o n s f o r the p a r t i e s i n v o l v e d . A second argument f o r p r e s e r v i n g the d i s t i n c t i o n between s p o u s a l and c h i l d m a i n t e n a n c e i s t h a t they s p r i n g f rom d i f f e r e n t s o u r c e s . H o l d i n g a p a r e n t r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a c h i l d ' s m a i n t e n a n c e r e v o l v e s a round 43 the n o t i o n t h a t the c h i l d i s h i s o r her c h i l d . A c h i l d may be a p a r t i c u l a r p e r s o n ' s r e p o n s i b i l i t y b e c a u s e he o r she b e g o t t h a t c h i l d . T h e r e a r e s i t u a t i o n s w h i c h do n o t f i t e a s i l y i n t o t h i s d i s a r m i n g l y s i m p l e a p p r o a c h . Is the woman who i s raped to be h e l d r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a c h i l d c o n c e i v e d i n s u c h c i r c u m s t a n c e s o r the sperm bank d o n o r to be f a c e d w i t h the p r o s p e c t o f m a i n t a i n i n g a c h i l d to m a j o r i t y ? I f a b o r t i o n i s a v a i l a b l e , a n argument i n the f o r m e r c a s e i s u n l i k e l y to a r i s e b e c a u s e the woman w i l l have a c c e p t e d the c h i l d by c a r r y i n g to te rm; i f she does n o t want i t , s u r e l y i t w i l l have been a b o r t e d o r f r e e d f o r a d o p t i o n . In the second c a s e , p o l i c y must d i c t a t e t h a t d o n o r s a r e n o t l i a b l e . T h e y may be v o l u n t a r y b e g e t t e r s bu t they s u r e l y o n l y d o n a t e on the b a s i s t h a t they w i l l n o t be l i a b l e f o r c h i l d s u p p o r t . I f i t i s i n the p u b l i c I n t e r e s t to have sperm b a n k s , they s h o u l d o p e r a t e on the b a s i s o f anonymi ty and immuni ty f o r the d o n o r s . A c h i l d may a l s o be a p a r t i c u l a r p e r s o n ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y b e c a u s e t h a t p e r s o n has t r e a t e d the c h i l d as h i s o r h e r s . ~ ^ The f a m i l y s h o u l d p r o v i d e f o r i t s e l f , whether o r n o t the c h i l d r e n i n t h a t f a m i l y a r e the c h i l d r e n o f b o t h p a r e n t s . T h i s does n o t , e x c e p t i n the c a s e o f 58 a d o p t i o n , s u p e r s e d e the b e g e t t e r ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y b u t does s u p p l e m e n t i t . The r a t i o n a l e o f c h i l d s u p p o r t draws h e a v i l y upon i d e a s o f p e r s o n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and the payment o f c h i l d s u p p o r t i s w i d e l y a c c e p t e d as n e c e s s a r y and j u s t . T h a t s p o u s a l s u p p o r t does n o t have s u c h a s e c u r e t h e o r e t i c a l 59 f o u n d a t i o n may have r e n d e r e d i t v u l n e r a b l e to r e f o r m i n g i n i t i a t i v e s . E e k e l a a r i s s u r e l y c o r r e c t to o b s e r v e t h a t one h i s t o r i c a l b a s i s f o r o r d e r i n g the t r a n s f e r o f income between fo rmer s p o u s e s , namely t h a t they had u n d e r t a k e n a l i f e - l o n g commitment to e a c h o t h e r , ' I s n o t w i d e l y h e l d 44 nowadays'.6^* The appreciation that this principle is outmoded has resulted i n a wide-ranging search for other means of explaining why former spouses should transfer income between each other. This investigation is well-exemplified by the English Law Commission's discussion paper, 'The Financial Consequences of D i v o r c e ' . 6 * What model should be adopted: one of short-term payments for so-called rehabil i tat ive purposes; one based upon the r e l i e f of need; a simple mathematical formula; a model based upon an analogy with the business partnership? The question has nowhere been sat isfactor i ly answered. What is clear is that spousal maintenance, as dis t inct from child support, is presently on the wane. Now that the breakdown theory of dissolution of marriage is established and proof of a matrimonial offence has taken a 63 back seat, spousal maintenance can rarely be charged as the price of freedom. In Br i ta in , where, in the absence of a matrimonial offence or the respondent's consent to the divorce, there must be a separation of 64 f ive years in order to prove breakdown of marriage, the bargaining structure may not have changed as markedly as i t is alleged to have done in C a l i f o r n i a . 6 " ' Lenore Weitzman has advanced the theory that the key to understanding the economic problems of women after divorce is the abandonment of the proof of fault as the condition precedent to matrimonial r e l i e f . Her argument is that women have had to give up their one lever in the divorce process which may have enabled them to 6 6 avoid impoverishment. This theory is open to severe c r i t i c i s m . Jacob finds: 45 'no strong evidence that no-fault by i t s e l f pushed women into economic independence more rapidly or more often than fault divorce had. ' 67 In other words, where is the evidence that divorce based upon fault ensured women a secure economic future? A second angle of attack is to adopt a geographical approach and consider whether women in jurisdictions where fault can s t i l l be raised are better off than women 6 8 in jurisdictions where i t cannot. Wishik's study of 227 divorce cases finishing i n 1982 and 1983 in two rural counties and two urban counties of Vermont, a so-called mixed jurisdict ion state where divorce based upon fault remained possible, found that women were just as badly o f f . ^ It is probable that Weitzman's view of the drastic consequences of the introduction of no-fault provisions is in need of moderation. A more generally applicable explanation for the waning of spousal maintenance is the waxing of approaches to matrimonial finances as i f the spouses were on an equal economic footing. Consider the conclusion to Lamer J . ' s dissenting judgement in the Supreme Court of Canada in Messier v P e l a g e . ^ He talks of the a b i l i t y to work, regardless of circumstances in the labour market at large, as determinative of the end of the spouses' financial responsibil i t ies to each other. This i s , he claims, a step ' i n favour of [their] f i n a l emancipation'. 7 * Since then, the Supreme Court of Canada has taken further measures to pare down the scope of spousal maintenance by developing a test of need generated by 72 the marital relationship. This necessity for an applicant for maintenance to demonstrate what has caused the need for which r e l i e f i s sought may reintroduce the question of fault Into corollary r e l i e f 73 applications. Furthermore, i f the test is interpreted as s t r i c t l y as 74 Wilson J . has applied i t in Richardson v Richardson, the clean break 46 doctrine has been advanced in Canada with surprising rigour. Certainly, the Canadian approach contrasts markedly with the circumspection with which the English courts have treated s 25A of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which requires the court to consider whether the former spouses' f inancial relationship can be severed, whether on decree n i s i or as soon thereafter as is just and reasonable. 7 Part icularly interesting is Bromley and Lowe's reference 7 6 to Soni v S o n i 7 7 where a clean break was not imposed after a short, childless marriage because the applicant spouse, though qualified and able to work, could not obtain work. Given that greater emphasis is being placed on the need for parents to become economically independent of each other, are there any other reasons why so few single parent families have maintenance as a major source of income? A number of the relevant factors w i l l be reviewed in greater depth in the chapter on enforcement but they can be b r i e f l y summarised here. One of the most important factors pushing single parents away from dependence on maintenance payments, whether for themselves or the children, is the unre l iabi l i ty of so many paying parents. If maintenance is a major source of income for the single parent family, there is a great deal of scope for the paying parent to hold the receiving parent to ransom by withholding some or a l l of the payment. Most single parents would wish to be free from this f inancial dependence. Other single parents would welcome a supplement to their meagre income but are unwilling to seek support from the other parent. Some are afraid of violent reprisals from the other parent should they do so. Others do not fear violence, but increased interference in their 47 l i v e s . Sue Slipman, Director of the B r i t i s h National Council of One Parent Families, points out: 'Every si n g l e mother's fear i s that she w i l l lose her c h i l d to the father. I f the father i s forced to pay maintenance, w i l l that encourage him to i n s i s t on his parental r i g h t s ? ' 78 S t i l l others would be content to receive money from the other parent but do not seek a support order, or do not try to enforce th e i r order, because i t makes no d i f f e r e n c e to t h e i r f i n a n c i a l p o s i t i o n , payments received from the other parent being deducted from welfare payments with no disregard. Eekelaar and Maclean found that for 57% of r e c i p i e n t s i n t h e i r sample i n England i n 1981, r e c e i p t of maintenance 79 made no d i f f e r e n c e at a l l to net income. This contrasts with the United States where the f i r s t $50 (US) of c h i l d support can be retained by the si n g l e parent before the recoupment provisions of the Aid to 80 Families with Dependent Children programme take e f f e c t . In many cases, the di s i n c e n t i v e s to obtaining and enforcing an order far outweigh the b e n e f i t s . However, i n so far as they d i v i d e earning capacity, often the parents' most valuable asset, such orders are valuable i f paid r e g u l a r l y and promptly and not simply clawed back by the welfare a u t h o r i t i e s . Their potential place within the budget of the s i n g l e parent family w i l l be considered further a f t e r a b r i e f review of the fourth source of f i n a n c i a l support. 5. S o c i a l Assistance as a Source of F i n a n c i a l Support Government assistance i s an important source of income for single parent f a m i l i e s . The Canadian Survey of Consumer Finances found that, i n 1985, transfers of income from government were more than three times as important as a source of income for female-headed lone parent 48 families than for two parent families . At the onset of single parenthood, a high degree of dependence on social assistance is to be expected. However the single parenthood has arisen, there w i l l in many cases be a period of adjustment to the new domestic circumstances before the single parent finds her feet. More disturbing are figures which suggest a long-term dependence on social assistance. Parrack, for example, in her investigation of the Ontario social welfare system, found that a single mother receiving no support from the other parent 82 ' w i l l remain on social assistance for approximately 3.75 years ' . It can be argued that such long-term dependence should not be surprising. I t is not always easy for a single parent to find suitable work which accommodates domestic responsibi l i t ies . Payments ordered to be made by the other parent may not be received or may be inadequate to remove the single parent's household from reliance on social assistance. I t is often the case that the re-allocation of one working wage is insuffic ient to raise s ignificantly the standard of l i v i n g of the single parent household. Consequently, long term dependence may become unavoidable. Despite the undesirable features of receipt of social assistance over a lengthy period, the r e l i a b i i t y and security of the payments are an advantage which w i l l appeal to single parents who would otherwise have the worry of waiting for payments from the other parent. If the single parent's household is bound to be a low income household, many single parents would choose to receive their small income from the state and thereby free themselves from dependence on the other parent. In doing so, they submit to the routine of the bureaucracy. They may also find their private l ives subject to scrutiny as the authorities examine 49 whether there i s another person from whom they are de r i v i n g support. Whilst p r i n c i p l e s of private law may stress the need for the i n d i v i d u a l to become independent, the s o c i a l assistance scheme i s geared to es t a b l i s h i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s of dependence i n order to palm o f f i t s 83 l i a b i l i t y to support. The sing l e parent finds herself i n the middle of this c lash of p r i n c i p l e s . Long term dependence on s o c i a l assistance may also a r i s e due to the d i f f i c u l t y of supplementing s o c i a l assistance payments. The co n s t i t u t i o n of, f o r example, the B r i t i s h income support scheme simply does not encourage or reward the single parent who takes small steps 84 towards independence. The recovery of a small amount of maintenance or c h i l d support r e s u l t s i n a deduction from s o c i a l assistance payments and no ben e f i t i s obtained by the single parent. Earnings are treated s i m i l a r l y , except for the f i r s t £15, which i s disregarded. Ca p i t a l resources can be depleted as they are regarded as sources of income rather than sources of long term s e c u r i t y . Unless the single parent can make a rapid t r a n s i t i o n to reasonably paid f u l l - t i m e work, there i s l i t t l e incentive to try to secure other sources of f i n a n c i a l support. Other countries have recognised how counter-productive this approach can 85 be. I t asks f o r t o t a l independence or t o t a l dependence. The p o s s i b i l i t y of a t r a n s i t i o n to independence i s not accommodated. Thus, the safety net of the state, no doubt welcome and appropriate i n the i n i t i a l c r i s i s of b i r t h , divorce or death of the spouse, encloses and traps the sing l e parent. In the long term, c r i s i s benefits are incompatible with the gradual process of economic recovery which many sin g l e parents are embarked upon. 50 6 « The F i e l d o f C h o i c e I n f o r m u l a t i n g p o l i c y f o r the f i n a n c i a l s u p p o r t o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s , a c r u c i a l i s s u e i s the r e l a t i v e emphasis to be g i v e n to e a c h f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e . I n e m p h a s i s i n g the i m p o r t a n c e o f a p a r t i c u l a r s o u r c e o f f i n a n c i a l s u p p o r t , a judgement i s made a b o u t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the s u p p o r t o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . I f enhanced s u p p o r t f rom the s t a t e i s a d v o c a t e d , t h i s c a r r i e s a c l e a r message o f c o l l e c t i v e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the w e l f a r e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . I t a l s o r e c o g n i s e s the d i f f i c u l t y f o r s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s i n a t t a i n i n g s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y and downp lays the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f f o r m e r members o f the h o u s e h o l d . On the o t h e r h a n d , i f g r e a t emphasis i s p l a c e d on the r e c o v e r y o f r e s o u r c e s f rom the o t h e r p a r e n t , t h i s c a r r i e s w i t h i t the i m p o r t a n c e o f f a m i l y r e s p o n s i b i l t y and o f p r e s e r v i n g economic l i n k s w i t h i n the f a m i l y so t h a t p u b l i c f u n d s a r e n o t c a l l e d u p o n . B e s i d e s the c h o i c e o f whether o r to what e x t e n t to use p u b l i c f u n d s , t h e r e i s the c h o i c e o f the e x t e n t to w h i c h e x i s t i n g d e p e n d e n c i e s a r e to be p r e s e r v e d . W i t h r e s p e c t to c h i l d r e n , a r e they to r e m a i n d e p e n d e n t by v i r t u e o f c h i l d s u p p o r t o r d e r s on a b s e n t p a r e n t s who t h e y r a r e l y o r n e v e r see u n t i l they r e a c h m a j o r i t y ? Or w i l l p o l i c y d i c t a t e t h a t , as i n the c a s e o f f o r m e r s p o u s e s , t h e r e w i l l come a t ime when r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and dependence t e r m i n a t e ? The c h o i c e o f p o l i c y towards s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s a l s o h i n g e s on o u r v iew o f women's r o l e i n s o c i e t y . T h i s w i l l come to the f o r e i n d e t e r m i n i n g the e x t e n t to w h i c h s i n g l e p a r e n t s s h o u l d be e x p e c t e d to s u p p o r t t h e i r h o u s e h o l d s by e a r n i n g s . To choose to put i n p l a c e p o l i c i e s and programmes w h i c h accommodate the r e t u r n o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s to the l a b o u r market i s to s t a t e q u i t e c l e a r l y t h a t they a r e n o t 51 expected to remain Isolated in the home a l l week, dependent on the absent parent and the state for financial support. Parrack goes so far as to argue that, i f single parents are entitled to social assistance even i f they are not looking for work, the state must be trying to encourage women to see caring for children as their f i r s t 86 responsibil i ty . It is certainly in the interests of the state that they should do so, bearing in mind the potential value of unpaid home-making a c t i v i t i e s . Equally, in establishing policies which oblige single parents to seek work, the state would be passing judgement on the needs of particular children and, whilst reducing the single parent's dependence on the absent parent and the state, the single parent's freedom of choice is also reduced. Any combination of sources of financial support w i l l have implications for a broader social pol icy . Should available private sources always be tapped before the public purse is opened? Are existing dependencies always to be preserved? Are women to be granted something more than formal and procedural equality? These are questions to be borne in mind in considering four possible approaches to the problem of poverty in single parent families . 52 Footnotes I. The data are unpublished but have been extracted by M. Moore i n 'Women Parenting Alone' i n Canadian So c i a l Trends (Winter 1987) p 31 at p 34. 2• Loc. c i t . 3. See H. Kirby 'Paying f o r Pa t e r n i t y ' i n The Times May 26th 1989 i n column 1. 4. See comments attributed to John Moore, former S o c i a l Security Secretary, reported by David Brindle 'lm one-parent f a m i l i e s ' i n The Guardian. 5. Kirby, supra, footnote 3 i n column 1. 6. An example i s B r i t i s h Columbia's c h i l d support c o l l e c t i o n agency established i n 1988. 7. J.M. Eekelaar, 'Family Law and So c i a l Problems' (1984) 34 Un i v e r s i t y of Toronto Law Journal 236 at p 242. 8. See D.Duclos, 'Breaking the Dependency C i r c l e : the Family Law Act Reconsidered' (1987) 45 TheJJniversity of Toronto_Faculty Law Review 1 at pp 1-13. 9. I.M. Ellman, 'The Theory of Alimony' (1989) 77 C a l i f o r n i a  Law Review 1 at p 47. Loc. c i t . . I I . Ellman, supra, footnote 9 a t p 43. 12. This i s the g i s t of Ellman's theory of the proper basis for the law of alimony. See supra, footnote 9 a t pp 50-52. 13. Supra, footnote 8 at p 12. 14. See, for example, West Germany and the Scandinavian countries, described by C. Cockburn and H. Heclo, 'Income Maintenance for One-Parent Families i n Other Countries', Appendix 3 to the Report of the Committee on One-Parent Families Cmnd 5629 (London: HMSO 1974). 15. Women's Work Interruptions, S t a t i s t i c s Canada (1986) Publi c a t i o n s e r i a l 99-962 at p 31. 16. Supra, S t a t i s t i c s Canada 99-962, footnote 15 at pp 31-32. 53 17• Loc. c i t . . 18. See Soci a l Trends 16 (London: HMSO 1986) at p 36. 19. Loc. c i t . . 20. See Soci a l Trends 18 (London: HMSO 1988) at p 39. 21. Supra, footnote 18 a t p 36. 22. Supra, footnote 20 at p 39. 23. Loc. c i t . . 24. Loc. c i t . . 25. R. Lawson, 'Western Europe' i n A. Samuels, ed, So c i a l Security  and Family Law (Great B r i t a i n : United Kingdom National Committee for Comparative Law 1979) p 275 at p 281. 26. See So c i a l Trends 18, supra, footnote 20 at p 95. 27. See, f o r example, for England, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and, for B r i t i s h Columbia, Part 3 of the Family Relations Act RSBC 1979 c 121. 28. Guardianship of Minors Act 1971 s 11B, inserted by Family Law Reform Act 1987 s 12. 2 9 * P e t t i t t v P e t t i t t [1970] AC 777, House of Lords. 30. See paragraph (c) of the d e f i n i t i o n of spouse i n s 1 of the Family Relations Act RSBC 1979 c 121. 3 1 * Pettkus v Becker 19 RFL (2d) 165, Supreme Court of Canada. 32. See Burns v Burns [1984] Ch 317. 33. Inheritance (Provision f o r Family and Dependants) Act 1975 ('Inheritance Act 1975'). 34. Inheritance Act 1975, s 1(2)(a). 35. Inheritance Act 1975, s l ( 2 ) ( b ) . 36. Law Commission, F i r s t Report on Family Property: A New Approach, No 52 (London: HMSO 1973) e s p e c i a l l y para 41. 37. Re Besterman [1984] Ch 458. 38. Inheritance Act 1975, s 1(2)(b). 39. Inheritance Act 1975, s 1(1)(e). 54 40. J.M. Eekelaar and M. Maclean, Maintenance a f t e r Divorce (London: Clarendon Press 1986) p 85. 41. M.J. Mossman and M. Maclean, 'Family Law and So c i a l Welfare' (1986) 5 Canadian Journal of Family Law 79 a t p 82. ^ * Supra, footnote 40 at p 84. 43. J.M. Eekelaar, 'Family Law and Soci a l Problems' (1984) 34 U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Law Journal 236 at p 241. 44. Supra, footnote 41 at p 92. 45. This subject i s w e l l explained by J . Parrack, The  In t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p between Soc i a l Assistance and Family Law (Ontario: The S o c i a l Assistance Review Committee 1987), especally at p 60. 46. L . J . Weitzman, 'The Divorce Law Revolution and the I l l u s i o n of Eq u a l i t y ' i n M.D.A. Freeman, ed, Essays i n Family Law 1985 (London: Stevens 1986) 81 at p 93. 47. L . J . Weitzman, The Divorce Revolution (New York: Free Press 1985) at p 61. 48. Supra, footnote 9 a t pp 41-51. 49. R.E. Weston, 'Changes i n Household Income Circumstances' i n P. McDonald, ed, Setti n g Up (Sydney: Prentice H a l l 1986) at p 121. 50. See Weitzman, supra, footnote 47, chapter 5 passim. 51. In B r i t a i n , see Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s 23, Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates' Courts Act 1978 s 2 and Guardianship of Minors Act 1971 s 11B. In Canada, see Divorce Act 1985 s 15. In B r i t i s h Columbia, see s 56 of the Family Relations Act RSBC 1979 c 121. 52. In B r i t a i n , see Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s 23. In Canada, see Divorce Act 1985 s 15. 53. In B r i t a i n , see Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s 27 and Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates' Courts Act 1978 s 2. In B r i t i s h Columbia, f o r this i s a p r o v i n c i a l matter, see s 57 of the Family Relations Act RSBC 1979 c 121. 54. See para (c) of the d e f i n i t i o n of 'spouse' i n s 1 of the Family Relations Act RSBC 1979 c 121. 55. Supra, footnote 40, at p 28. 56. This idea i s discussed by D.L. Chambers, 'The Coming Curtailment of Compulsory Ch i l d Support' (1982) 80 Michigan Law Review 1614 at pp 1618-1623. 55 57. Chambers, supra, footnote 56 a t p 1621. See also the d e f i n i t i o n of 'child of the family' i n s 52(1) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. 58. Adoption Act RSBC 1979 c 4, s 11. See, f o r the E n g l i s h p o s i t i o n , Adoption Act 1976 s 39. 59. See generally Ellman, supra, footnote 9. 60. Supra, footnote 7 a t p. 241. 61. Law Commission, 'The F i n a n c i a l Consequences of Divorce' Cmnd 8041 (London: HMSO 1980), e s p e c i a l l y Part IV. 62. Law Commission, supra, footnote 61, paras 59-86 (Part IV). 63. See Divorce Act 1985 s 8 and, f o r England, the Matrimonial Cuases Act 1973 s 1. 64. Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s 1(2). 65. Ellman, supra, footnote 9 a t p 7; Weitzman, supra, footnote 47 a t pp 26-28. 66. Supra, footnote 47, Chapter 6 passim. 67. H. Jacob, 'Another Look at No-Fault Divorce and the Post-Divorce Finances of Women' (1989) 23 Law and Society Review 95 at p 98. 68. H. H i l l Kay, 'Equality and Difference: a Perspective on No-Fault Divorce and i t s Aftermath' (1987) 56 Universit_y_ of C i n e i n a t t i  Law Review 1 a t pp 67-71. 69. H.R. Wishik, 'Economics of Divorce: an Exploratory Study' (1986) 20 FLQ 79. 70. (1984) 35 RFL (2d) 337. 71 * Loc. c i t . . 7 2 * Pelech v Pelech [1987] 4 WWR 481. 73. Prof . I . Grant has raised this point i n classes at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia. 74. 7 RFL (3d) 304, SCC. 75. P.M. Bromley and N.V. Lowe, Family Law (7th ed.) (London: Butterworths 1987) pp 684-688. 76. Supra, footnote 75 at p 687. 77. [1984] FLR 294. 56 78 Quoted in H. Kirby, 'Paying for paternity' , The Times, May 26th 1989, p 21. 79. Supra, footnote 40 at p 86. 80. M. Takas, Child Support (Harper and Row 1985) p 13. 8 1 * Supra, footnote 1, at the place there c i ted . 8 2 • Sujara, footnote 45 at p 18. 83. Parrack, supra, footnote 45 at pp 45-46. 84. See Report of the Committee on One-Parent Families, supra, footnote 14, para 5.51 for comments on this aspect of supplementary benefit . The same features remain in the present scheme entitled 'income support' . 85. See, by way of example, Roger Lawson's analysis of the Danish system at p 278 et seq. of A. Samuels, ed, Social Security  and Family Law (Great B r i t a i n : UK National Committee for Comparative Law 1979) and Takas, supra, footnote 80 at p 13. 86. Supra, footnote 44 at p 11. 57 CHAPTER 3 SINGLE PARENTHOOD AS AN INSURABLE RISK The purpose of this chapter is to consider whether insurance against the poss ibi l i ty of single parenthood holds out the prospect of adequate r e l i e f from the financial disadvantages which single parenthood so often enta i ls . The advantages, drawbacks and pract icabil i ty of voluntary and compulsory schemes and of private insurance and ' social Insurance'* w i l l be outlined. Before embarking on this exercise, i t is appropriate to make expl ic i t certain features which are considered elementary to any scheme of insurance and, where necessary, to remark upon how easily the events which lead to single parenthood can be located within this framework. It may be that there are features of single parenthood which render i t an uninsurable r i sk . At the outset, i t may be objected that the poss ibi l i ty of entering into an agreement for f inancial provision on the bir th of a child to a single woman or on the separation or divorce of a married couple with children is undesirable because i t encourages the occurrence of such events. The empirical basis for such an opinion is cloudy: would insurance provison cause any of these events? Do people take less care to protect their health because they know that they are insured, either privately or social ly , against sickness? Has the absence of insurance provision in any way discouraged couples from separating or reduced the numbers of children born outside marriage? It is doubtful whether rendering such contracts of insurance unlawful would lead to greater social cohesion and change contemporary attitudes, but i t is unnecessary 58 to consider such large questions in this context. It is argued that the kernel of the approach of those who would disapprove of insurance against single parenthood is a disquiet about single parenthood as an insured event. One element of the contract of insurance is that the insurer w i l l give some form of benefit to the insured person when a certain event occurs. Usually, the insured person has no control over these events and, indeed, the insured person is often required to take a l l reasonable and practicable steps to prevent the occurrence of any such events. An example would be the householder who must be prudent to prevent his house burning down or the transporter of goods who must carry them in conditions such that they are unlikely to be ruined. An insured whose carelessnes causes the insured event or who deliberately brings i t about w i l l have the benefit which would othewise be receivable reduced, in the la t ter instance probably to n i l . I t would be a feature of insurance against single parenthood that the insured would, in most cases, have a degree of control over the insured event which renders the whole scheme of insurance impracticable. This would be so whether the insurance is a private arrangement or part of a national social insurance policy. To argue that the policy would not be to insure against single parenthood but against the financial disadvantages which may result therefrom w i l l be to no avail because the insured's own actions remain a proximate cause. Is there any way of avoiding the problem of giving the insured a licence to commit suicide so that his family obtains the benefit of a term l i f e policy or to blow up his own factory to obtain the benefits of a buildings insurance policy, to draw two analogies? 59 Beveridge was clearly aware of this problem when he considered social insurance for women on the termination of marriage otherwise than by widowhood. The death of the spouse w i l l only extremely rarely be caused by the survivor and therefore the same d i f f i c u l t i e s do not ar ise . Single parenthood due to the other spouse's death can be and is insured against, both privately and s o c i a l l y . Separation and divorce presented peculiarly d i f f i c u l t problems, especially in the era when financial r e l i e f i n matrimonial proceedings was predicated upon proof of the other's f a u l t . Why should social insurance approach the problem any differently? Beveridge recognised that 'considerable practical d i f f i c u l t i e s may 3 arise in determining whether a claim to benefit . . . has a r i s e n ' . The system of social insurance would become ridden with the same problems faced by the judiciary in allocating responsibili ty for matrimonial breakdown. Beveridge expl ic i t ly accepted, however, that: 'a man cannot insure against events which occur only through his fault or with his consent, and i f they occur through the fault or with the consent of the wife she should not have a claim to benefi t . ' 4 His problem was compounded by the fact that, i f the so-called guilty wife were to be given a claim to an insurance benefit, i t would be obtained by virtue of the contributions of the supposedly innocent husband. Nevertheless, Beveridge espoused the principle of comprehensiveness of social insurance, stating that the plan: 'should not leave either to national assistance [ i . e . non-contributory welfare provision] or to voluntary insurance any risk so general or so uniform that social insurance can be j u s t i f i e d . ' 5 Matrimonial breakdown f u l f i l s the c r i t e r i a of generality and uniformity but the nature of the event makes i t s accommodation within a scheme of 60 i n s u r a n c e e x t r e m e l y p r o b l e m a t i c a l . Perhaps t h i s i s what l e d B e v e r i d g e to c a l l f o r ' f u r t h e r e x a m i n a t i o n ' 6 o f the p r o b l e m i n the hope t h a t a compromise p o s i t i o n c o u l d be f o u n d . E v e n i f i t i s no l o n g e r n e c e s s a r y to make an e x p l i c i t f i n d i n g o f f a u l t a g a i n s t one spouse o r b o t h , the p r o b l e m i s n o t w h o l l y s o l v e d f o r i t wou ld r e m a i n the c a s e t h a t the c o u p l e c o u l d f a c i l i t a t e the payment o f the i n s u r a n c e b e n e f i t by c o n s e n t i n g to the s e p a r a t i o n . F u r t h e r , r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r breakdown o f m a r r i a g e c a n nowadays be s e e n as j o i n t r a t h e r than the s o l e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f one p a r t n e r . T h i s n o t i o n o f breakdown as a c o l l e c t i v e i n d i v i s i b l e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , r a t h e r than a n e v e n t f o r w h i c h nobody a t a l l i s r e s p o n s i b l e , does n o t s o l v e the p r o b l e m s o f the i n s u r e d p e r s o n ' s c o n t r o l o v e r the o c c u r r e n c e o f the i n s u r e d e v e n t . T h e q u e s t i o n o f the r o l e o f the i n s u r e d i n b r i n g i n g a b o u t the i n s u r e d e v e n t overshadows the d i s c u s s i o n o f the v a r i o u s p o s s i b l e forms o f i n s u r a n c e w h i c h f o l l o w s . The s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s r o l e i n the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y i s even c l e a r e r i n the c a s e o f the c h i l d b o r n o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e . C o n c e p t i o n , s e p a r a t i o n by m u t u a l c o n s e n t , d i v o r c e due to i r r e c o n c i l a b l e d i f f e r e n c e s : the i n s u r e d p e r s o n ' s c h o i c e i n and p a r t i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the b r i n g i n g a b o u t o f t h e s e e v e n t s removes them f rom the ambi t o f r i s k s a g a i n s t w h i c h i n s u r a n c e c a n be made g e n e r a l l y a v a i l a b l e a t an a f f o r d a b l e p r i c e . The second f e a t u r e o f the model i n s u r a n c e agreement does n o t p r e s e n t so many p r o b l e m s . I n o r d e r to o b t a i n the i n s u r a n c e b e n e f i t s when the i n s u r e d e v e n t o c c u r s , c o n t r i b u t i o n s must have been made to the i n s u r e r . A l t h o u g h p r a c t i c a l q u e s t i o n s w i t h r e s p e c t to the a b i l i t y o f young p o t e n t i a l s i n g l e p a r e n t s who a r e n o t i n the l a b o u r market to make 61 s u c h c o n t r i b u t i o n s may be r a i s e d , t h e r e i s no t h e o r e t i c a l r e a s o n f o r r u l i n g o u t i n s u r a n c e a g a i n s t s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d on t h i s g r o u n d . A c o r o l l a r y o f the p r a c t i c a l i s s u e o f how t h o s e most a t r i s k w i l l pay t h e i r c o n t r i b u t i o n s i s to e n q u i r e w h e t h e r the s i n g l e p a r e n t s h o u l d be a b l e to take advantage o f anybody e l s e ' s c o n t r i b u t i o n s , s p e c i f i c a l l y t h o s e o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . I f the i n s u r a n c e b e n e f i t s a r e d e s i g n e d to e n s u r e t h a t the c h i l d r e n i n the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y a re n o t u n d u l y e c o n o m i c a l l y d i s a d v a n t a g e d , t h e r e seems e v e r y r e a s o n why b o t h p a r e n t s ' c o n t r i b u t i o n s s h o u l d be u t i l i s e d , r e g a r d l e s s o f w h i c h p a r e n t has c u s t o d y o f the c h i l d r e n . I n d e e d , s u c h an a p p r o a c h would tend to emphas ise the p a r e n t s ' j o i n t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the c h i l d r e n . Once the c o n c e p t o f s o l e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r m a t r i m o n i a l breakdown i s a b a n d o n e d , the p r o b l e m o f the c o n t r i b u t i o n s o f an I n n o c e n t spouse b e i n g u t i l i s e d by a s u p p o s e d l y g u i l t y spouse i s r e s o l v e d . The t h i r d and f i n a l f e a t u r e o f the model i n s u r a n c e agreement i s t h e r e c e i p t o f a b e n e f i t by the i n s u r e d p e r s o n . T h e r e i s n o t h i n g i n the n a t u r e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d a d v e r s e to s u c h an a r r a n g e m e n t , though t h e r e may be some d i f f i c u l t y i n v o l v e d i n d i v i d i n g the b e n e f i t s when j o i n t c u s t o d y Is o r d e r e d . However , t h e r e i s the p r a c t i c a l p r o b l e m t h a t premiums w o u l d have to be h i g h to e n s u r e the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y an e x i s t e n c e o u t s i d e the p o v e r t y t r a p d u r i n g the m i n o r i t y o f the c h i l d r e n . A t t e n t i o n w i l l now be f o c u s s e d on t h r e e p o s s i b l e schemes f o r i n s u r i n g a g a i n s t s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d , b e a r i n g i n mind the g e n e r a l o b s e r v a t i o n s a l r e a d y made. 1. P r i v a t e V o l u n t a r y I n s u r a n c e What i s p roposed under t h i s h e a d i n g i s a scheme whereby i n d i v i d u a l s 62 o r c o u p l e s c o u l d p r o t e c t t h e m s e l v e s a g a i n s t the f i n a n c i a l r i s k s o f s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d , i f they w i s h e d to do s o , by t a k i n g o u t a p o l i c y o f i n s u r a n c e w i t h an i n s u r a n c e company. Chambers i s q u i t e r i g h t to d i s m i s s s u c h a p r o p o s a l as e n t i r e l y u n w o r k a b l e . 7 I t i s n o t o n l y t h a t t h e r e i s the p r o b l e m o f the d e g r e e o f c o n t r o l w h i c h the i n s u r e d has o v e r the o c c u r r e n c e o f the i n s u r e d e v e n t ; t h e r e a r e o t h e r d i f f i c u l t i e s i n a d d i t i o n . F i r s t , as t h e r e i s no o b l i g a t i o n to take o u t i n s u r a n c e , t h e r e i s g the p r o b l e m o f a d v e r s e s e l e c t i o n . Those who p e r c e i v e t h e m s e l v e s to be most a t r i s k w i l l i n s u r e t h e m s l v e s whereas s i n g l e p e o p l e and those who b e l i e v e t h e i r m a r r i g e s to be s e c u r e w i l l be r e l u c t a n t to do s o . I t i s p r o b a b l e t h a t the group o f i n s u r e d p e o p l e w i l l be h e a v i l y b i a s e d towards t h o s e w i t h p r e s e n t o r i m p e n d i n g m a r i t a l d i f f i c u l t i e s . S e c o n d l y , the I n e v i t a b l y h i g h premiums would be beyond the 9 r e s o u r c e s o f many, t h e r e b y i n t r o d u c i n g a f u r t h e r b i a s . F o r the a l r e a d y p o o r , s u c h i n s u r a n c e i s u n l i k e l y to have a h i g h p r i o r i t y on the m o n t h l y b u d g e t , y e t i f the premiums a r e n o t s i z e a b l e , the c o r r e s p o n d i n g b e n e f i t s w i l l n o t r a i s e the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y ' s l i v i n g s t a n d a r d s a p p r e c i a b l y . 2 • P r i v a t e C o m p u l s o r y I n s u r a n c e T h i s p r o p o s a l c o n c e r n s the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f a scheme whereby a l l members o f a c l a s s i d e n t i f i e d as a t r i s k a r e o b l i g e d to take o u t a p o l i c y o f i n s u r a n c e w i t h an i n s u r a n c e company. An a n a l o g y can be drawn w i t h the o b l i g a t i o n on a l l owners o f motor v e h i c l e s to i n s u r e t h e m s e l v e s a g a i n s t the r i s k o f c a u s i n g p h y s i c a l i n j u r y to t h i r d p a r t i e s . T h a t i n s u r a n c e i s o b l i g a t o r y o b v i o u s l y means t h a t the p r o b l e m o f a d v e r s e s e l e c t i o n i s a v o i d e d . 63 However , new prob lems a r i s e w h i c h , i n sum, r e n d e r the p r o p o s a l u n w o r k a b l e . F i r s t , t h e r e i s the q u e s t i o n o f how to d e f i n e the c l a s s o f p e o p l e who s h a l l be o b l i g e d to i n s u r e t h e m s e l v e s a g a i n s t the r i s k o f f i n a n c i a l d i s a d v a n t a g e o n s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d . The n a r r o w e r the c l a s s i s d e f i n e d , the l e s s the r i s k i s d i s p e r s e d and the h i g h e r the premiums a r e l i k e l y to b e . Chambers i s c o r r e c t to p o i n t o u t t h a t , i f the c l a s s i s l i m i t e d to young m a r r i e d c o u p l e s , a r g u a b l y the c l a s s most a t r i s k , premiums wou ld be v e r y h i g h . * ^ The premiums w i l l be h i g h , however the c l a s s i s d e f i n e d , b e c a u s e the r a t e o f d i v o r c e amongst c o u p l e s w i t h c h i l d r e n and the c o s t s o f c h i l d - r e a r i n g w i l l have to be t a k e n i n t o _ 11 a c c o u n t . P l a i n l y , i f the scheme i s to be c o m p r e h e n s i v e , i t w i l l have to i n c l u d e more than young m a r r i e d c o u p l e s . Shou ld a l l m a r r i e d c o u p l e s be o b l i g e d to c o n t r i b u t e , w h e t h e r o r n o t they have c h i l d r e n a n d , i f they h a v e , whether o r n o t the c h i l d r e n have a t t a i n e d m a j o r i t y ? To l i m i t the o b l i g a t i o n to t a k e e f f e c t on the c o n c e p t i o n o r b i r t h o f the f i r s t c h i l d would s e v e r e l y l i m i t the base f rom w h i c h and the p e r i o d f o r w h i c h c o n t r i b u t i o n s c o u l d be d r a w n . Why s h o u l d the o b l i g a t i o n to i n s u r e be r e s t r i c t e d to m a r r i e d c o u p l e s and those l i v i n g t o g e t h e r as i f they were m a r r i e d ? How does the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y a r i s i n g f rom a b i r t h to a s i n g l e woman f i n d a n i c h e w i t h i n t h i s scheme? Shou ld the c l a s s o f t h o s e o b l i g e d to i n s u r e be ex tended to i n c l u d e a l l s i n g l e women o f c h i l d - b e a r i n g age o r , i n d e e d , a l l s i n g l e men who may p o s s i b l y l o o k a f t e r the c h i l d r e n they have f a t h e r e d o r whose premiums c o u l d be a p p l i e d f o r the b e n e f i t o f the s i n g l e mother? As the d i v e r s i t y o f r o u t e s to s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d i s a p p r e c i a t e d , so the n e t o f a c o m p u l s o r y i n s u r a n c e scheme must grow w i d e r . 64 This i s , i n i t s e l f , a f a i l i n g for i t w i l l surely lead to problems connected with the c o l l e c t i o n of contributions. Chambers asks what the 12 sanction for f a i l u r e to insure can be? I t i s to be remembered that ostensibly happily married couples are to be required to make a substantial disbursement on a p o l i c y which they may never use. The objection i s supposedly linked to a resistance to providing for other people's marital f a i l u r e s . This may be perceived i n a d i f f e r e n t l i g h t to provision for other people's old age, i l l n e s s or misfortune on the road out of a fund to which the i n d i v i d u a l has contributed but on which he or she may never draw. 3. S o c i a l Insurance That contributors may not see themselves as at r i s k from the consequences of single parenthood i n the same way as they are at r i s k from old age i s also a problem with a system of compulsory insurance 13 organised by the State. The p o l i t i c a l a c c e p t a b i l i t y of increasing the cost of e x i s t i n g national insurance to bring single parents within the f o l d i s open to question. However, the greater d i g n i t y attaching to r e c e i p t of insurance benefits than to r e c e i p t of welfare payments should be further investigated. Mossman and Maclean put forward a model of the divergent 14 c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of payments by the State to those i n need. They may have an entitlement to a benefit which has been purchased by means of regular contributions, usually from wages, to an Insurance fund. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , the claimant may have to r e l y on welfare payments contingent upon the claimant's resources and not usually related to employment. To Mossman and Maclean, these categories are judgemental, 65 r e f l e c t i n g n o t i o n s o f d e s e r t , and a r i s i n g f rom the d i f f e r e n t t r e a t m e n t s meted o u t to the l a i d - o f f workman and the p a u p e r . * ^ The p r o p o s a l to p r o v i d e f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y by means o f c o n t r i b u t o r y b e n e f i t s c a n be s e e n , i n the c o n t e x t o f t h i s model o f p r o v i s i o n by the S t a t e , as p a r t o f an e f f o r t to a c c o r d the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y a h i g h e r and more r e s p e c t a b l e s t a t u s i n the l i g h t o f t h e i r i n c r e a s i n g numbers and c h a n g i n g a t t i t u d e s to s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d . H i t h e r t o , i t i s s u g g e s t e d , schemes f o r f i n a n c i a l p r o v i s i o n by the S t a t e have n o t been d e s i g n e d w i t h the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s p a r t i c u l a r d i f f i c u l t i e s i n m i n d . * ^ However , i t c a n be a rgued f o r c e f u l l y t h a t a scheme o f f i n a n c i a l p r o v i s i o n based upon c o n t r i b u t i o n s made p r i o r to the need a r i s i n g i s e q u a l l y u n s y m p a t h e t i c to the s i t u a t i o n o f many s i n g l e p a r e n t s . L a r g e numbers o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s , e s p e c i a l l y amongst the group o f women who have had c h i l d r e n o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e , a r e young and have l i t t l e o r no e x p e r i e n c e i n the l a b o u r f o r c e . In t h i s s c e n a r i o , when the i n s u r e d e v e n t o c c u r s , no c o n t r i b u t i o n s to the i n s u r a c e fund w i l l have been m a d e . * 7 E v e n i f the o t h e r p a r e n t ' s c o n t r i b u t i o n s c o u l d be u t i l i s e d , the 18 ' c o n t r i b u t o r y p r i n c i p l e ' whereby b e n e f i t s r e l a t e to the p a r e n t s ' c o n t r i b u t i o n s to the i n s u r a n c e fund i s j e o p a r d i s e d . T h a t the premiums may be p a i d i n the f u t u r e has n o t been c o n s i d e r e d r e l e v a n t to 19 e l i g i b i l i t y f o r a c o n t r i b u t o r y b e n e f i t : i t i s p a s t c o n t r i b u t i o n s w h i c h d e t e r m i n e e l i g i b i l i t y . E v e n i f b e n e f i t s were p a i d i n a n t i c i p a t i o n o f f u t u r e c o n t r i b u t i o n s , how r e a l i s t i c i s t h i s a p p r o a c h i n the l i g h t o f the i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y o f the l a b o u r market f o r s i n g l e p a r e n t s ? I n the s e a r c h f o r a way In w h i c h the p r i n c i p l e o f c o n t r i b u t i o n c a n be m a i n t a i n e d , t h e r e i s a r i s k t h a t ' t h e i n s u r a n c e p r i n c i p l e [ w i l l be] 66 . . . s t r e t c h e d so t h i n as to become somewhat a r t i f i c i a l ' . I f s i n g l e p a r e n t s w i l l o n l y q u a l i f y f o r a c o n t r i b u t o r y b e n e f i t o s t e n s i b l y d e s i g n e d 21 f o r them ' b y o f f e r i n g v e r y l i b e r a l c o n t r i b u t i o n c o n d i t i o n s ' , t h i s s h o u l d c a u s e a r e - e x a m i n a t i o n o f the a p p l i c a b i l i t y o f the c o n t r i b u t o r y p r i n c i p l e . The b e s t a p p r o a c h i s to bow to the i n e v i t a b l e a n d , i f the s t a t e i s to make f i n a n c i a l p r o v i s i o n f o r s i n g l e p a r e n t s , to c r e a t e a n o n - c o n t r i b u t o r y b e n e f i t and to work to r i d s u c h b e n e f i t s and t h e i r r e c i p i e n t s o f s t i g m a . Though s o c i a l i n s u r a n c e i s r e j e c t e d as i m p r a c t i c a l , i t i s Impor tan t to be aware t h a t i t s f a i l i n g s a r e n o t p r e c i s e l y those o f p r i v a t e v o l u n t a r y i n s u r a n c e . B e v e r i d g e draws an i m p o r t a n t d i s t i n c t i o n between the two forms o f i n s u r a n c e : ' w h i l e a d j u s t m e n t o f premiums to r i s k s i s o f the e s s e n c e o f v o l u n t a r y i n s u r a n c e , s i n c e w i t h o u t t h i s i n d i v i d u a l s wou ld n o t o f t h e i r own w i l l i n s u r e , t h i s a d j u s t m e n t i s n o t e s s e n t i a l i n i n s u r a n c e w h i c h i s made c o m p u l s o r y by the power o f the S t a t e . 1 22 The f o c u s o f the d i s c u s s i o n i n the e n s u i n g p a s s a g e i s on the c l a i m to p a y a l o w e r premium i f , f o r e x a m p l e , the i n d i v i d u a l i s employed i n an i n d u s t r y w i t h a low i n c i d e n c e o f i n d u s t r i a l i n j u r y o r s e a s o n a l 23 l a y - o f f . I t i s n o t e s s e n t i a l f o r the S t a t e to v a r y the premiums 24 a l t h o u g h , as a m a t t e r o f p o l i c y , i t may do s o . In the c o n t e x t o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y the S t a t e c o u l d j u s t i f y c h a r g i n g h i g h e r premiums t o y o u n g p e o p l e than to t h o s e whose c h i l d r e n had a t t a i n e d m a j o r i t y , e x c e p t t h a t the e x e r c i s e would p r o b a b l y be f u t i l e due to i n a b i l i t y to p a y . T h a t c o n t r i b u t i o n s to a n i n s u r a n c e fund c a n n o t be a f f o r d e d i s so i n t r a c t a b l e a p r o b l e m t h a t , i f s o c i a l i n s u r a n c e i s to be e s t a b l i s h e d , t h e r e wou ld have to be s u b s i d y o f c o n t r i b u t i o n s . T h i s f o r c e s the i s s u e o f how f a r the c o n t r i b u t o r y p r i n c i p l e can be s t r e t c h e d b e f o r e i t c e a s e s 67 to be ident i f iable . If a model of state f inancial provision as an insurance benefit is insisted upon, subsidy of contribution is essential in many cases and the non-contributory social assistance gains the ascendancy by the back door. Even i f premiums are related to r i sk , as they could be within a national insurance scheme, the moment the total of the contributions made by the population as a whole requires further subsidy in order to meet the amount of the benefits payable, the door i s ajar for the establishment of benefits outside the insurance pr inciple . 4. Conclusion The discussion in this chapter demonstrates that insuring against the financial disadvantages of single parenthood arising otherwise than by death of the other spouse is impractical as a social pol icy . Quite apart from questions of capacity to pay premiums before the insured event and of defining the class of people at r i sk , there is the overriding problem of the degree of control which the insured person possesses over the occurrence of the insured event. This problem applies to a l l three possible insurance schemes and leads to the conclusion that single parenthood is not an insurable r i sk , as that term is currently understood, and that social policy-makers must look elsewhere for a solution to the financial d i f f i c u l t i e s of single parent families . 68 Foo_t.no tes 1. S i r William Beveridge, Social Insurance and A l l i e d Services, Cmnd 6404 (London: HMSO 1942) paras 20-26. 2 * Supra, footnote 1, para 347. 3. Supra, footnote 1, note to para 347. 4. Supra, footnote 1, para 347. 5. Supra, footnote 1, para 308. 6. Supra, footnote 1, note to para 347. 7. D . L . Chambers, Making Fathers Pay (Chicago: University of Chicago 1979) p 262. 8. Loc. cit»_» 9. Chambers, supra, footnote 7 at p 263. 10. Supra, footnote 7 at p 264. 11* Loc. c i t . . 12* Loc. c i t . 13. Chambers, supra, footnote 7 at p 266. 14. M.J . Mossman and M. Maclean, 'Family Law and Social Welfare' (1986) 5 Canadian Journal of Family Law 79 at 97. 15. Loc. c i t . . 16. Loc. c i t . . 17. Chambers, supra, footnote 7 at p 266. 18. Beveridge, supra, footnote 1 at para 24. 19. Chambers, supra, footnote 7 at p 266. 20. Report of the Committee on One-Parent Families (The Finer Report) (London: HMSO 1974) para 5.90. 21. Loc. c i t « . 22. Supra, footnote 1, para 24. 23. Supra, footnote 1, paras 25-26. 24* Supra, footnote 1, para 24. 69 CHAPTER 4 ENFORCEMENT The purpose of this chapter is to examine the argument that, i f court orders were promptly and f u l l y enforced at a cost which the single parent family could afford, the financial problems of the single parent family would be resolved. This argument is applicable to a l l orders for the transfer of income from the absent parent to the household of the single parent, whether the order is expressed to be for the single parent or for the children. In the discussion which follows, child support i s emphasised, partly because spousal maintenance orders are becoming less usual and also because so many enforcement in i t ia t ives in North America focus exclusively on the recovery of child support. Measures taken for the recovery of child support should generally apply equally to enforcement of orders for the single parent, were these to become more widespread. Professor Hahlo has called enforcement '[t]he central problem i n child support ' .* Within the scope of this short essay, he touches upon the d i f f i c u l t i e s facing a single parent seeking to enforce an order for child support and sets out his requirements for a rigorous and eff ic ient 2 system of enforcement, but he does not seek to just i fy his diagnosis of the root of the problem. For those who emphasise the personal responsibil i ty of the biological parent, the process of enforcement is an obvious focus for proposals for reform. If Professor Hahlo is right that 'everything possible should be done to make [the defaulting father] 3 face up to his obligat ions ' , i t follows that the deficiencies in the process of enforcement must be removed. 70 A d o p t i n g t h i s a p p r o a c h r e s u l t s i n p r o p o s a l s f o r r e f o r m , the b a s i c c o n t e n t o f w h i c h i s t o l e r a b l y c l e a r . T h e e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s must p r o v i d e the s u p p o r t c r e d i t o r w i t h some means o f t r a c i n g the d e b t o r . Once the d e b t o r i s f o u n d , the c r e d i t o r s h o u l d be g i v e n a w i d e c h o i c e o f p o s s i b l e means o f o b t a i n i n g the money, some o f w h i c h w i l l be a p p r o p r i a t e f o r p a r t i c u l a r c l a s s e s o f c a s e b u t n o t o f g e n e r a l a p p l i c a t i o n . F o r e x a m p l e , s e i z u r e and s a l e o f the d e b t o r ' s y a c h t , l i m o u s i n e o r o t h e r p e r s o n a l p r o p e r t y by the c o u r t b a i l i f f s w i l l o b v i o u s l y be o f no u s e i f the d e b t o r has no a s s e t s . F i n a l l y , t h e r e must be a p r e p a r e d n e s s to make r e p e a t e d e f f o r t s a t e n f o r c e m e n t . The c o n t e n t o f any p a r t i c u l a r e lement o f the p r o c e s s i s open to d e b a t e b u t the d i a g n o s i s o f e n f o r c e m e n t as t h e p r i n c i p a l c o n c e r n i n the a r e a o f s u p p o r t o b l i g a t i o n s and the c e r t a i n t y w i t h w h i c h the need to m a i n t a i n s t a n d a r d s o f p e r s o n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s a s s e r t e d c l e a r l y l e a d to a r e s p o n s e w h i c h e m p h a s i s e s the c o m m u n i t y ' s commitment to the p o s i t i o n o f the s u p p o r t c r e d i t o r . An e x a m i n a t i o n o f the m o t i v a t i o n o f those who f o c u s on r e f o r m o f the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s i n j e c t s some a m b i g u i t y i n t o the c l a r i t y o f t h e i r a n a l y s i s . Some w i l l a d v o c a t e b e t t e r means o f e n f o r c e m e n t b e c a u s e i t i s t h o u g h t t h a t the funds r e c o v e r e d w i l l s i g n i f i c a n t l y improve the f i n a n c i a l s t a n d i n g o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . On the o t h e r h a n d , i t may be a p p r e c i a t e d t h a t f u l l payment o f c o u r t o r d e r s w i l l n o t a lways e n a b l e the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y to a t t a i n an a p p r o p r i a t e s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g . I f t h i s argument i s , a c c e p t e d , j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r r i g o r o u s e n f o r c e m e n t m i g h t be s i m p l y t h a t the s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y i s improved somewhat o r , q u i t e a p a r t f rom any b e n e f i t to the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y , t h a t r i g o r o u s e n f o r c e m e n t f o s t e r s a d e s i r a b l e r e s p e c t f o r o r d e r s o f the c o u r t and r e d u c e s p u b l i c e x p e n d i t u r e . 71 The s u g g e s t i o n i s t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e to a r g u e i n f a v o u r o f i m p r o v i n g p r o c e d u r e s f o r e n f o r c i n g s u p p o r t o r d e r s f r o m a r a n g e o f p e r s p e c t i v e s , some o f w h i c h may have no c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the f i n a n c i a l w e l f a r e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . The p o s s i b l e c o n f l i c t s between the c o n c e r n s o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t and those o f the S t a t e w i l l be examined i n g r e a t e r d e t a i l b e l o w , b u t the f o l l o w i n g i s an i l l u s t r a t i o n o f the d i f f e r e n t e x p e c t a t i o n s o f the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s w h i c h can a r i s e . I t i s t a k e n f r o m a book w r i t t e n by a l a w y e r i n B o s t o n , M a s s a c h u s e t t s and aimed a t s i n g l e p a r e n t s who want to r e c o v e r c h i l d s u p p o r t . I t i s a handbook to u s i n g the l e g a l s y s t e m to the a d v a n t a g e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y , n o t an a c a d e m i c t r e a t i s e ; hence she c i t e s no e m p i r i c a l s u p p o r t 4 f o r h e r e x a m p l e , though i t may be w i t h i n h e r own e x p e r i e n c e . She c l a i m s t h a t the O f f i c e o f C h i l d S u p p o r t E n f o r c e m e n t i n the U . S . A . may somet imes g i v e a h i g h e r p r i o r i t y to r e c o v e r i n g e x p e n d i t u r e on w e l f a r e payments than to s e e k i n g a p p r o p r i a t e i n c r e a s e s i n the o r d e r f o r c h i l d s u p p o r t . I f a s i n g l e p a r e n t has an o r d e r f o r c h i l d s u p p o r t b u t , due to the o r d e r b e i n g i g n o r e d , she r e c e i v e s w e l f a r e payments under the A i d to F a m i l i e s w i t h Dependent C h i l d r e n programme, i t may be t h a t the p r o s p e c t s f o r r e c o v e r y under the o r d e r w i l l improve as t ime p a s s e s . An i n c r e a s e b a s e d upon the c o s t o f l i v i n g may be d u e . The s u g g e s t i o n i s t h a t the O f f i c e o f C h i l d S u p p o r t E n f o r c e m e n t would be r e l u c t a n t to a s s i s t the mother i n s e c u r i n g the i n c r e a s e b e c a u s e t h i s m i g h t p r e j u d i c e the recoupment o f the w e l f a r e payments made w h i l s t the o r d e r was n o t b e i n g p a i d . T h i s i l l u s t r a t e s the i m p o r t a n c e o f c o n s i d e r i n g the p r i n c i p a l m o t i v a t i o n f o r p a r t i c u l a r r e f o r m s o f the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s . I t c o u l d be t h a t the q u e s t i o n o f w h e t h e r o r n o t the r e f o r m has improved the 72 economic standing of the s i n g l e parent family i s regarded by the reformer as i n c i d e n t a l to issues concerning public expenditure and maintaining the c r e d i b i l i t y of the courts. 1. The Problem of 'Discouraged' Maintenance^ H a r r i s , McDonald and Weston review some of the data concerning maintenance payments co l l e c t e d by the A u s t r a l i a n I n s t i t u t e of Family Studies during i t s Survey of the Economic Consequences of Marriage Breakdown i n 1984. This involved interviewing a sample of people divorced i n V i c t o r i a i n 1981 and 1983 a f t e r separations of between 12 and 23 months. One f a c t o r which H a r r i s , McDonald and Weston emphasise i s that ' i n 60 per cent of cases where a c u s t o d i a l parent i s not r e c e i v i n g maintenance, there i s no breach of a current court order i n v o l v e d ' . 7 I f any of these cases involve si n g l e parent f a m i l i e s who l i v e below what i s consideed the appropriate minimum standard, i t i s i c l e a r that prompt and f u l l enforcement of support orders w i l l not achieve the aim of ensuring a c e r t a i n minimum standard of l i v i n g for a l l such f a m i l i e s . Enforcement can a s s i s t i n achieving this aim i n so far as the group of si n g l e parent f a m i l i e s with court orders w i l l b enefit from i t . An exclusive emphasis upon enforcement would, at l e a s t i n V i c t o r i a , allow large numbers of those for whose benefit the reform i s designed to s l i p through the net. Therefore, before too much emphasis i s placed upon reforming the enforcement process i n V i c t o r i a , the question of how best to put a maintenance arrangement i n place must be addressed. This presumes that the primacy of the obligations of the b i o l o g i c a l parents w i l l continue to be stressed. 73 This theme is pursued by Sorenson and MacDonald in their analysis of women in the U.S .A . who received Aid to Families with Dependent Children i n March 1977 and who had at least one child whose father was 8 9 absent. The authors recognise that they are basing their conclusions upon patterns observed within a special sample of the total group of single parents e l ig ible for child support and that some caution must be exercised in generalising further. Figures from the 1979 Current Population Survey do enable some comparisons to be drawn.*^ Of a l l women heading single parent families, 59% have what the authors describe as 'a legal ly binding child-support agreement'.** This term comprehends court orders and enforceable agreements between the parents. By way of contrast, only 37% of those receiving welfare had an order or agreement. Both within the total group e l ig ible for a child support award and within the group of mothers on welfare, i t was clear that black women are less l i k e l y than white women to have secured an award. Similarly , divorced women in both groups are more l i k e l y to have an award than those who are separated: in the total sample, 80% of divorcees had an award compared with 45% of the separated women. This effect of marital status on the likelihood of securing a child support award was less clear within the group of mothers receiving welfare payments. This may indicate that the State's interest in ensuring there is some mechanism for recovery from the absent parent is the same, whether or not the marriage is dissolved. In both groups, i t was clear that women who had never been married to the chi ld ' s father were less l i k e l y to have a child support order or agreement than those who were separated or divorced. 74 Besides race and marital status, Sorenson and MacDonald consider the relationship between the income of female-headed single parent 12 families and securing and collecting a child support award. Figures from the 1979 Current Population Survey disclose that 38% of those mothers who received no support payments in 1978 had an income below the poverty level compared with 14% of those who received some support payments. Of those receiving no payments, 42% of those with no child support award were below the poverty l ine whilst only 25% of those with an uncollected award were below the poverty l i n e . This pattern is repeated with figures from 1975. Of mothers receiving support payments, 12% were below the poverty l i n e . How many more of these women would have been below the poverty l ine i f , contrary to the actual position, no support payments were made? The answer is that numbers below the poverty l ine would only have risen to 19%. Admittedly, the authors have calculated their own minimum standard but their investigation does suggest that 'the better off economically the custodial parent i s , the more l i k e l y she is to have an award and 13 collect i t ' . If the methods and data of this study are accepted, i t casts doubt on the idea that prompt and f u l l enforcement of support awards can remove large numbers of single parent families from poverty. It is worrying that not a l l e l ig ible women are awarded child support and that there are such marked differences in the likelihood of obtaining an award between various groups of mothers. Sorenson and MacDonald found that likelihood of receiving the child support awarded 14 did not vary amongst the groups of mothers to as large an extent. Their conclusion is that inequities are greatest at the stage of making 75 the award and t h a t ' t h e s u c c e s s o f c h i l d - s u p p o r t r e f o r m w i l l , to a l a r g e e x t e n t , depend on i t s c a p a c i t y to s o l v e the p r o b l e m o f s e c u r i n g c h i l d - s u p p o r t awards to a l l e l i g i b l e c h i l d r e n . ' * " ' What a r e the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f t h e s e o b s e r v a t i o n s f r o m V i c t o r i a and the U . S . A . f o r t h o s e who wou ld f o c u s t h e i r a t t e n t i o n on the e n f o r c e m e n t o f s u p p o r t o r d e r s ? I f r e f o r m o f the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s i s u n d e r t a k e n f p r i m a r i l y w i t h a v i e w to a s s u r i n g s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s a minimum s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g , i t c o u l d be a rgued t h a t i n t e r v e n t i o n s h o u l d be d i r e c t e d i n s t e a d , o r i n a d d i t i o n , to the b e g i n n i n g o f the p r o c e s s whereby a s i n g l e p a r e n t seeks to o b t a i n s u p p o r t f rom an a b s e n t p a r e n t . T h i s argument c o u l d a l s o be made i f the a i m o f r e f o r m i n g the s u p p o r t p r o c e s s i s to m i n i m i s e p u b l i c e x p e n d i t u r e . I f the S t a t e has no means o f r e c o v e r i n g f r o m a s p o u s e o r f o r m e r s p o u s e by i n d e p e n d e n t a c t i o n w i t h o u t r e f e r e n c e to the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t , i t i s c l e a r l y i n the S t a t e ' s i n t e r e s t s to e n s u r e t h a t as many s i n g l e p a r e n t s as p o s s i b l e have o r d e r s w h i c h w i l l s e r v e i n due c o u r s e as a v e h i c l e by w h i c h the S t a t e can r e i m b u r s e i t s e l f . I t i s n o t my p o s i t i o n t h a t the p r o p o r t i o n o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s who have o b t a i n e d awards o f m a i n t e n a n c e o r c h i l d s u p p o r t i s so i n s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t i t i s a m i s t a k e to i n t e r v e n e i n the p r o c e s s a t a l l a t the e n f o r c e m e n t s t a g e . The p u r p o s e o f e l a b o r a t i n g upon the q u e s t i o n o f t h e v a r i a b l e s a f f e c t i n g the s e c u r i n g o f an award i n the f i r s t p l a c e has b e e n to c a s t d o u b t upon the v iew t h a t the o n l y a p p r o p r i a t e s t a g e f o r i n t e r v e n t i o n i s the e n f o r c e m e n t o f the o r d e r . T h i s o v e r - s i m p l i f i e s the p r o c e s s o f c o l l e c t i n g c h i l d s u p p o r t and f a i l s f u l l y to a p p r e c i a t e the d e c i s i o n s w h i c h the s i n g l e p a r e n t and the S t a t e , o r one o f them, have 76 already made before the problem of enforcement a r i s e s . As Maclean and Eekelaar have commented, 1 [ t ] h e American l i t e r a t u r e and p o l i c y formulation has tended to view c h i l d support as mainly a debt c o l l e c t i o n 16 problem'. I t i s necessary to be aware that there i s a choice to be made with respect to the stages at which intervention i n the process can be made and that too great an emphasis on the enforcement of orders may lead to i n e q u i t i e s between s i m i l a r l y placed single parent f a m i l i e s . I f the primary o b l i g a t i o n to support i s that of the b i o l o g i c a l parent, i n order u n i v e r s a l l y to assert this doctrine, i t w i l l be necessary to create yet more c r e d i t o r and debtor r e l a t i o n s h i p s . 2• Are Maintenance Arrears the same as other Debts? The extent to which the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the custodial and the non-custodial parents can be characterised as a r e l a t i o n s h i p between cr e d i t o r and debtor has important implications with reference to the enforcement of the f i n a n c i a l o b l i g a t i o n which, f o r the purposes of this discussion, i t i s assumed i s established between them. Is enforcement of the absent parent's o b l i g a t i o n to transfer income to the sing l e parent's household simply a matter of securing compliance with an o b l i g a t i o n to pay money? Is this o b l i g a t i o n of the non-custodial parent any d i f f e r e n t from his duty to pay the supermarket for groceries? If i t i s d i f f e r e n t , i t i s an i n d i c a t i o n that, i n seeking ways of enforcing support orders which are most b e n e f i c i a l to single parent f a m i l i e s , the enquiry can range furt h e r than remedies t y p i c a l l y open to the commercial c r e d i t o r . I t could be that too great an adherence to such remedies i n the past was one obstacle to the smooth transfer of income which support orders sought to secure. 77 Is t h e r e any e v i d e n c e to s u p p o r t the i d e a t h a t ' f i n a n c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r o n e ' s c h i l d r e n r e p r e s e n t s a p r e - e m i n e n t d e b t ' ? * 7 Do the r e a s o n a b l e needs o f c h i l d r e n , s p o u s e and even f o r m e r spouse take p r e c e d e n c e o v e r the r e q u i r e m e n t s o f o t h e r s w i t h a c l a i m on the w a g e - e a r n e r ' s income? C l e a r l y , d o m e s t i c r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s do n o t e x c u s e the d i s h o n o u r i n g o f c o n t r a c t u a l o b l i g a t i o n s . O t h e r w i s e , t h i r d p a r t i e s m igh t be r e l u c t a n t to e n t e r c o n t r a c t s f o r s u b s t a n t i a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n w i t h o u t d i s c l o s u r e o f p e r s o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n . However , t h a t the d u t i e s o f s u p p o r t a r e more i m p o r t a n t c o u l d be a rgued w i t h r e f e r e n c e to the c o n s e q u e n c e s f o r the c r e d i t o r i f payment i s n o t f o r t h c o m i n g . D e f a u l t can r e s u l t i n s e v e r e h a r d s h i p f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y a n d , o f c o u r s e , a t t h i s l e v e l o f g e n e r a l i t y , f o r the c o m m e r c i a l t r a d e r , b u t the n o t i o n t h a t the d e f a u l t e r i s d e n y i n g h i s own c h i l d r e n a c e r t a i n s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g may conduce to g r e a t e r p u b l i c c e n s u r e t h a n the e q u a l l y o b v i o u s c o n s e q u e n c e t h a t the t radesman and h i s f a m i l y ' s s t a n d a r d s may d e c l i n e . I t m i g h t be e a s i e r to j u s t i f y j a i l i n g d e f a u l t e r s i f the o n l y argument 18 a g a i n s t so d o i n g were t h a t i t i s a form o f j a i l i n g f o r d e b t . The d e f a u l t has had c o n s e q u e n c e s f o r a c h i l d who, u n l i k e the t r a d e s m a n , c a n n o t t i g h t e n h i s c r e d i t p r a c t i c e s o r , where the s i n g l e p a r e n t i s i n e l i g i b l e f o r w e l f a r e p a y m e n t s , d e c l i n e to r e l y any l o n g e r on the d e f a u l t e r f o r h i s i n c o m e . The c h i l d c a n n o t seek new m a r k e t s . I n the a b s e n c e o f i n t e r v e n t i o n by the S t a t e , he o r she i s s u b j e c t to the whims o f h i s p a r e n t s . T h i s l i n e o f argument has l e d to the w i d e s p r e a d o p i n i o n t h a t any p r o h i b i t i o n s on j a i l i n g f o r d e b t i n the U . S . A . a r e n o t i n t e n d e d 19 to comprehend c a s e s i n v o l v i n g a r r e a r s o f s u p p o r t . B e c a u s e s u p p o r t d e b t i s a s p e c i a l form o f d e f a u l t , i t i s s a i d to be j u s t i f i a b l e to r e t a i n s e v e r e p e n a l t i e s to d e a l w i t h i t . 78 A l t h o u g h a r r e a r s o f s u p p o r t have c e r t a i n f e a t u r e s w h i c h d i s t i n g u i s h i t f r o m money owed f o r goods r e c e i v e d , i t wou ld be n a i v e to s u g g e s t t h a t , a p a r t f rom r h e t o r i c a l u s a g e , s u p p o r t a r r e a r s a r e g i v e n a h i g h e r p r i o r i t y t h a n c o m m e r c i a l d e b t s . W a c h t e l and B u r t c h ' s s t u d y i n V a n c o u v e r 20 i n 1980 f o u n d t h a t the j u d i c i a r y ' s a t t i t u d e towards i n d e b t e d n e s s was g u i d e d by the v iew t h a t s u p p o r t payments take p r i o r i t y o v e r o t h e r d e b t s . T h e y o b t a i n e d d a t a by w a t c h i n g c o u r t p r o c e e d i n g s and by r e v i e w i n g c o u r t f i l e s . The a u t h o r s c o n c l u d e t h a t the c o u r t s ' a p p r o a c h to s u p p o r t payments as a p r e - e m i n e n t o b l i g a t i o n was o u t o f s t e p w i t h the a t t i t u d e o f some o f the d e f a u l t e r s who saw i t as more i m p o r t a n t to h o n o u r t h e i r b u s i n e s s and consumer o b l i g a t i o n s . The p e r s o n a l i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r the p a y e r i f he d e f a u l t e d on h i s d o m e s t i c o b l i g a t i o n s w e r e , w i t h good r e a s o n , p e r c e i v e d to be l e s s s e v e r e t h a n the i m p l i c a t i o n s i f he d e f a u l t e d on c o m m e r c i a l o b l i g a t i o n s . The a u t h o r s h y p o t h e s i s e t h a t b u s i n e s s o b l i g a t i o n s a r e g i v e n g r e a t e r i m p o r t a n c e by s o c i e t y i n g e n e r a l than s u p p o r t o b l i g a t i o n s and t h a t , u n t i l t h i s r a n k i n g i s u p s e t , the c o u r t s w i l l n o t be a b l e to s tem the f l o w o f d e f a u l t . In t h i s c o n n e c t i o n , i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to n o t e t h a t the C h i l d S u p p o r t E n f o r c e m e n t Amendments i n the U . S . A . b r i n g the c o n s e q u e n c e s o f s u p p o r t d e f a u l t c l o s e r to the c o n s e q u e n c e s o f c o m m e r c i a l i n d e b t e d n e s s by o b l i g i n g the O f f i c e o f C h i l d S u p p o r t E n f o r c e m e n t to r e p o r t p a y e r s i n 21 a r r e a r s amount ing to $1 ,000 to c r e d i t a g e n c i e s . P r e s u m a b l y , t h i s w i l l l e a d to a r e a s o f s u p p o r t becoming a g r e a t e r o b s t a c l e to the o b t a i n i n g o f consumer c r e d i t t h a n h i t h e r t o . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to n o t e t h a t T a k a s , i n h e r s e l f - h e l p g u i d e , recommends r e p o r t i n g d e f a u l t e r s to c r e d i t a g e n c i e s as a way o f a p p l y i n g p r e s s u r e , q u i t e a p a r t f r o m t h i s r e l a t i v e l y new 22 p r o v i s i o n . 79 The e s s e n t i a l l e g a l d i f f e r e n c e between the l i t i g a n t s e e k i n g to e n f o r c e a judgement f o r damages and the s i n g l e p a r e n t r e c o v e r i n g s u p p o r t a r r e a r s i s t h a t the l a t t e r has no f i n a l judgement , o n l y an o r d e r f o r a s e r i e s o f p a y m e n t s . The model o f the r e t r o s p e c t i v e e n f o r c e m e n t mechanism to c o l l e c t a lump sum award o f damages may be q u i t e i n a p p r o p r i a t e to the c a s e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t who i s f a c e d w i t h e r r a t i c p a y m e n t s . I t may be q u i t e i m p r a c t i c a l to u t i l i s e t r a d i t i o n a l c r e d i t o r s ' r e m e d i e s s u c h as d i s t r a i n t to r e c o v e r two o r t h r e e payments many weeks a f t e r the money was n e e d e d . As payments to be made i n the f u t u r e have n o t become d e b t s , s y s t e m s o f e n f o r c e m e n t w h i c h o n l y r e c o v e r d e b t s and do n o t h i n g p r o s p e c t i v e l y to e n s u r e c o m p l i a n c e a r e n o t i d e a l f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . A d m i t t e d l y , p r o s p e c t i v e a c t i o n to a s s i s t the m a i n t e n a n c e c r e d i t o r r a i s e s q u e s t i o n s o f the i m p a r t i a l i t y o f the S t a t e towards b o t h d e b t o r and c r e d i t o r and o f the b a l a n c e to be s t r u c k between a s s i s t i n g m a i n t e n a n c e c r e d i t o r s to r e c o v e r and l e a v i n g o t h e r c r e d i t o r s to t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l r e t r o s p e c t i v e r e m e d i e s . I f the a im i s to improve the s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g and f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s , i t w i l l become c l e a r t h a t l i m i t i n g the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s to the same p a r a m e t e r s as the e n f o r c e m e n t o f judgement d e b t s does n o t s e r v e the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y w e l l . The c o n c l u s i o n f rom t h i s r e v i e w o f the m a i n t e n a n c e o b l i g a t i o n Is t h a t t h e u s u a l o r d e r f o r p e r i o d i c a l p a y m e n t s , p e r s o n a l , i n a l i e n a b l e and s u b j e c t 23 to s u p e r v i s i o n by the c o u r t , i s d i f f e r e n t f r o m a f i n a l judgement f o r damages . I t i s w o r t h c o n s i d e r i n g a t what s t a g e the p r o c e s s o f e n f o r c i n g the o r d e r s h o u l d b e g i n and w h e t h e r o t h e r means o f e n f o r c e m e n t wou ld be more s u i t a b l e . 80 3. Why i s Default so _Wlde_s_pr_ead_?_ There are very few d i s s e n t i n g voices from the proposition that d e f a u l t amongst men ordered to make support payments i s a widespread phenomenon which makes the l i v e s of single parents no e a s i e r . Maclean and Eekelaar, i n th e i r study of the f i n a n c i a l consequences of divorce i n England i n 1980, do not emphasise the problem of enforcing orders as a 24 d i f f i c u l t y f o r their sample of si n g l e parents. However, they do suggest that marital problems and problems at work can coincide and that the former husband who loses h i s job as a r e s u l t presents obvious d i f f i c u l t i e s with respect to enforcement. This takes up a theme of the Finer Committee's Report to the U.K. 25 Parliament. This Committee reached the conclusion that 'the r e a l problem of maintenance i s not the unwillingness but the i n a b i l i t y of men 26 to pay'. In reaching this conclusion, which i s an i n t e g r a l part of i t s argument that the private law system of maintenance obligations i s inadequate to assure si n g l e parent families an appropriate standard of 27 l i v i n g , the Committee reviews a number of e a r l e r studies. The Supplementary Benefits Commission which at that time administered welfare payments conducted a review of claimants who should have been maintained p r i v a t e l y . Of court orders e x i s t i n g i n June 1970, 45% were complied with at l e a s t three quarters of the time but 40% were complied with le s s than one tenth of the time. Of this l a t t e r group of orders, 28 91% were not complied with at a l l . The Commission was unable to trace 24% of those paying less than a tenth of the time and recognised that a 29 f u r t h e r 29% could not be expected to pay i n f u l l . Two e a r l i e r studies had also emphasised the l i m i t e d means of men against whom the courts had made maintenance orders. The Department of 81 Sociology at Bedford College, London conducted a survey of a l l 30 maintenance orders e x i s t i n g on January 1st, 1966. The average earnings of men i n manufacturing industry i n 1965 were £18 per week. I t was found that 70% of men ordered to provide maintenance earned le s s than £16 per week. I t i s acknowledged that the court's a b i l i t y to v e r i f y earnings was l i m i t e d and that there i s a strong incentive to 31 misrepresent earnings. Research conducted f o r the Graham H a l l 32 Committee on Statutory Maintenance Limits in 1966 also emphasises that 'those who become defendants to proceedings for maintenance i n magistrates' courts have earnings or s a l a r i e s w ell below the national 33 average'. I t i s important to appreciate that, when the studies upon which the 34 Finer Committee r e l i e d were conducted, d i s s o l u t i o n of marriage i n the divorce court was not a process r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e to most of the B r i t i s h population. The magistrates' courts' powers to regulate the a f f a i r s of separated spouses were more widely used than they are today. There i s the p o s s i b i l i t y that the criminal ambience of the magistrates' courts led to t h e i r avoidance by the middle classes, who even so may not have taken th e i r matrimonial disputes to the divorce courts. That the magistrates' domestic j u r i s d i c t i o n i s heavily used by poorer people i s 35 beyond dispute. What i s suggested i s that studies of a j u r i s d i c t i o n which purports to serve the needs of poorer people may produce r e s u l t s concerning the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of men ordered to pay maintenance which are no longer relevant to an age when the divorce court i s accessible to those s l i g h t l y wealthier people who wished to avoid the stigma of the magistrates' courts and could not at that time afford the upper t i e r of matrimonial j u r i s d i c t i o n . 82 This i s , admittedly, a hypothesis and i t i s immediately acknowledged that, of the three research projects mentioned above, only the Graham H a l l Committee's was e x c l u s i v e l y concerned wih the orders of magistrates' courts. However, i t i s tempting to seek i n this way to r e c o n c i l e the Finer Committee's conclusion that d e f a u l t occurs because 36 the payer has i n s u f f i c i e n t resources with the s t a r k l y contrasting conclusions of the North American l i t e r a t u r e . Perhaps there i s no explanation beyond dif f e r e n c e s i n time and place. There i s no suggestion In the Finer Committee's report that an exceptionally c h a r i t a b l e view of the payer's resources was adopted. However, the studies i n North America may be considered more sophisticated because of t h e i r i n v e s t i g a t i o n of some of the psychological reasons for f a i l u r e to pay. One such study i s that conducted by the Canadian I n s t i t u t e for 37 Research. One of the objectives was to illuminate possible reasons why a maintenance order may be disobeyed. A door to door survey was conducted i n Calgary and Edmonton to obtain a sample of men who were subject to maintenance orders. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that the sampling method had to be modified due to the large numbers of men who refused to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the survey but the researchers were confident that t h e i r eventual sample of 262 men was representative of good and bad payers. These men were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with c e r t a i n reasons f o r payment. Next they were asked to s p e c i f y and explain t h e i r p r i n c i p a l reason for payment or non-payment. I t should be borne i n mind that a problem with this sort of survey i s the subject's d e s i r e to be seen i n a good l i g h t . 83 The major reason for paying for 60% of the respondents was their 38 continued sense of responsibili ty for their own children. A majority of payers said they were at least par t ia l ly motivated to pay by a desire 39 to preserve some goodwill. By way of contrast, only about a f i f t h of the men reported being motivated to pay due to threats of court 40 proceedings, wage garnishments or imprisonment. In so far as reasons for default are concerned, the most common reason volunterered was that the former wife did not need the money. This was followed by the claim that the payments could not be afforded: 46% of the respondents gave this as at least a part ial explanation for 41 fai lure to pay. This was further investigated by comparing disposable Incomes with social assistance rates. The social assistance which the respondent and any members of his new household would qualify for i f they had no other source of income was ascertained. This figure was deducted from net monthly income. Maintenance obligations were 42 expressed as a percentage of this f igure . I t was found that, for 39.8% of respondents, the maintenance obligations represented less than 10% of disposable income and that for 82.1% the obligation amounted to 43 less than 30% of disposable income. It should be appreciated that the researchers were unable accurately to record the indebtedness of the respondents to people other than their former wives and children and that this would have given a more accurate picture of how much of the net income was disposable. Nevertheless, the figures demonstrate that the affordabil i ty of the maintenance obligations depends on the pr ior i ty 44 which they are given with respect to other financial obligations. To continue with this theme, the researchers made a simple comparison between the respondents' net monthly incomes and four payment 84 statuses which they constructed: excellent, f a i r , poor and non-paying. Although the l i k e l i h o o d that a man i s a good payer increases with h i s income, 4 5 i t i s f a s c i n a t i n g to see that the non-payers' average net monthly Income i s $1,593 w h i l s t that of the excellent payers i s only u $1,676. The conclusion i s that low income i s associated with a f a i r or poor record of payment but that i t i s not so c l e a r l y associated with complete non-payment. These findings i n Alberta cast grave doubts upon the general a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the Finer Committee's diagnosis of the usual reason for 47 f a i l u r e to pay. The Canadian I n s t i t u t e f o r Research also questioned a random sample of two hundred women e l i g i b l e to receive maintenance payments f o r themselves or their c h i l d r e n i n Calgary and Edmonton. This survey d i s c l o s e d that about a third of the women received the f u l l amount each month. A further 15% might be without i n any p a r t i c u l a r month but the arrears would be paid l a t e r . Even more i r r e g u l a r payments were received by 27% of the Calgary respondents and 19% of the Edmonton respondents. Complete non-payment was indicated by a quarter of the 48 Calgary respondents and a thir d of those from Edmonton. Default i s therefore one of the problems facing single parent f a m i l i e s i n Edmonton and Calgary but the explanation for i t i s apparently more complex than the a v a i l a b i l i t y of resources. Weitzman's research i n C a l i f o r n i a confirms that non-compliance with maintenance orders can be as prevalent amongst men with high wages as i t 49 i s amongst men with low wages. The research of the A u s t r a l i a n I n s t i t u t e for Family S t u d i e s 5 0 found that, amongst the divorced men who they questioned, 17% claimed to be unable to afford the maintenance payments due to other commitments, unemployment or i l l n e s s . 5 * The women 85 52 who were q u e s t i o n e d m e n t i o n e d a f f o r d a b i l i t y b u t w i t h some s c e p t i c i s m . I t s h o u l d be made c l e a r t h a t they were n o t n e c e s s a r i l y the f o r m e r w i v e s o f the men who had c l a i m e d to be u n a b l e to a f f o r d the p a y m e n t s . What o t h e r v a r i a b l e s m igh t e x p l a i n the p a t t e r n s o f c o m p l i a n c e w i t h m a i n t e n a n c e o b l i g a t i o n s ? I t may be p r o f i t a b l e to e x p l o r e w h e t h e r the d e g r e e o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f e l t by the p a y e r towards the f o r m e r f a m i l y u n i t a s s i s t s i n the e x p l a n a t i o n . I n the A l b e r t a s t u d y , a m a j o r i t y o f b o t h men and women gave a c o n t i n u i n g s e n s e o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t y as the 53 p r i n c i p a l r e a s o n f o r payment and r e c e i p t r e s p e c t i v e l y . The r e s e a r c h e r s found t h a t the b i t t e r n e s s w h i c h s t i l l e x i s t e d between t h e f o r m e r s p o u s e s , the f e e l i n g o f some men t h a t the l e g a l s y s t e m had done them a d i s s e r v i c e and d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the new a r r a n g e m e n t s w i t h r e s p e c t to t h e i r c h i l d r e n made i t i m p r o b a b l e t h a t some men would c o n t i n u e to f e e l r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the former f a m i l y u n i t and a c c o r d t h e i r m a i n t e n a n c e o b l i g a t i o n s a h i g h p r i o r i t y i n s e t t i n g t h e i r new b u d g e t . The C a n a d i a n I n s t i t u t e s u g g e s t s t h a t f a i l u r e to pay m a i n t e n a n c e may i n d i c a t e t h a t the f o r m e r husband i s u n a b l e to a d j u s t to h i s new r o l e . The l e g a l s y s t e m h a s , i n h i s e y e s , t r a n s f o r m e d f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n t o 54 a r e l a t i o n s h i p between d e b t o r and c r e d i t o r . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t h a t , i n the s u r v e y s o f b o t h men and women i n C a l g a r y and E d m o n t o n , t h e r e i s a s u g g e s t i o n t h a t f o r m e r husbands who r e m a r r y o r form a n o t h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p tend to be b e t t e r p a y e r s than t h o s e who do n o t . 5 5 I t w o u l d be imprudent to be c a t e g o r i c a l b e c a u s e the v a r i a t i o n i n b o t h s u r v e y s i s n o t s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t , bu t i t may be t h a t t h o s e who f o r m a new r e l a t i o n s h i p a d j u s t more e a s i l y to the m a r i t a l b r e a k d o w n . A s i m i l a r p a t t e r n i s o b s e r v a b l e i n t h e A u s t r a l i a n I n s t i t u t e o f F a m i l y S t u d i e s ' r e s e a r c h . Men who had r e p a r t n e r e d p a i d 86 b e t t e r , even i f they had s t e p - c h i l d r e n i n t h e i r new h o u s e h o l d . M i g h t t h e r e be l e s s b i t t e r n e s s towards the fo rmer spouse and the l e g a l s y s t e m i f a new r e l a t i o n s h i p i s formed? F o r m i n g a new r e l a t i o n s h i p i s n o t n e c e s s a r i l y c o n s i s t e n t w i t h c o n t i n u e d i n v o l v e m e n t i n the f o r m e r f a m i l y u n i t . One h y p o t h e s i s i s t h a t b e t t e r p a y e r s c o n t i n u e to be i n v o l v e d i n t h e i r f o r m e r f a m i l i e s o r , to e m p h a s i s e the d i s t i n c t i o n , the more r e g u l a r p a y e r s r e g a r d t h e m s e l v e s as s t i l l h a v i n g a r o l e to p l a y i n t h e i r f a m i l i e s w h i l s t the n o n - p a y e r s v i e w the f o r m e r s p o u s e ' s h o u s e h o l d as c o n t a i n i n g t h e i r ' f o r m e r f a m i l y ' . A c c e s s to the c h i l d r e n i s an o b v i o u s measure o f i n v o l v e m e n t f o r the e x e r c i s e o f a c c e s s d i s c l o s e s , i n most c a s e s , a c o n c e r n to a t t e m p t to p r e s e r v e the r e l a t i o n s h i p between p a r e n t and c h i l d . I t i s a d m i t t e d t h a t l e s s w o r t h y m o t i v e s f o r v i s i t i n g the c h i l d r e n e x i s t b u t a c c e s s i s a u s e f u l v a r i a b l e f o r the r e s e a r c h e r s e e k i n g to gauge an a b s e n t p a r e n t ' s i n v o l v e m e n t i n the f a m i l y u n i t . The s u r v e y o f men i n C a l g a r y and Edmonton d i s c l o s e d no r e l a t i o n s h i p o f s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e between s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h a c c e s s a r r a n g e m e n t s and r e g u l a r i t y o f p a y m e n t . C h a m b e r s e x p l a i n s h i s s i m i l a r r e s u l t s i n Genesee C o u n t y , M i c h i g a n , where he i n v e s t i g a t e d a random sample o f 410 men who were s u b j e c t to m a i n t e n a n c e o b l i g a t i o n s , by a r g u i n g t h a t s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h a c c e s s a r r a n g e m e n t s i s n o t n e c e s s a r i l y a 58 measure o f i n v o l v e m e n t i n the f a m i l y . I t i s b e i n g c o n c e r n e d a b o u t a c c e s s , whether the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t i s s a t i s f i e d o r n o t , t h a t i n d i c a t e s i n v o l v e m e n t i n the f a m i l y . I t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t c o n c e r n a b o u t a c c e s s would be a u s e f u l i n d i c a t o r o f p a t t e r n s o f p a y m e n t s . A p a r t f rom d i f f i c u l t i e s i n measurement , i t i s s u g g e s t e d t h a t c o n c e r n c a n l e a d to many d i f f e r e n t r e s p o n s e s w i t h r e s p e c t to payments o f m a i n t e n a n c e . I t 87 may r e s u l t i n r e g u l a r payment b u t e q u a l l y the p o w e r l e s s n e s s w h i c h n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s c a n e x p e r i e n c e as a r e s u l t o f t h e i r s e p a r a t i o n f rom t h e i r c h i l d r e n may l e a d to r e s e n t m e n t o f the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t and d e f a u l t i n payment o f s u p p o r t . D e s p i t e the i n c o n c l u s i v e n e s s o f h i s e f f o r t s to d e m o n s t r a t e a s i g n i f i c a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p between a c c e s s and payment o f s u p p o r t , Chambers ' model o f the c o u r s e o f the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the c h i l d and the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t as a means o f e x p l a i n i n g p a t t e r n s o f payment o f c h i l d s u p p o r t r e m a i n s c r e d i b l e . The A u s t r a l i a n I n s t i t u t e o f F a m i l y S t u d i e s d i s c o v e r e d t h a t payments a r e l i k e l y to become i r r e g u l a r as the y e a r s p a s s , e s p e c i a l l y i f the p a r e n t s s e p a r a t e d when the c h i l d was 59 y o u n g . I t m i g h t be t h a t the l e n g t h o f t ime s p e n t i n the same h o u s e h o l d as the c h i l d i s more s i g n i f i c a n t than the d u r a t i o n o f the m a r r i a g e i t s e l f . The C a n a d i a n I n s t i t u t e ' s random sample o f c a s e s i n Edmonton F a m i l y C o u r t found no s i m p l e r e l a t i o n s h i p between l i k e l i h o o d o f payment and l e n g t h o f m a r r i g e . A f t e r a m a r r i a g e o f l e s s than f i v e y e a r s , i t was e q u a l l y l i k e l y t h a t s u p p o r t o b l i g a t i o n s would be f u l l y c o m p l i e d w i t h o r t h a t they wou ld n o t be c o m p l i e d w i t h a t a l l . The same r e s u l t o b t a i n e d a f t e r m a r r i a g e s o f more than f i f t e e n y e a r s . Chambers h i m s e l f found t h a t men whose m a r r i a g e s l a s t e d more than ten y e a r s p a i d b e t t e r than men f r o m s h o r t e r m a r r i a g e s , b u t no p a t t e r n was o b s e r v a b l e 61 w i t h r e s p e c t to t h e s e s h o r t e r m a r r i a g e s . Chambers ' o b s e r v a t i o n i s t h a t In many c a s e s t h e r e i s a d i s e n g a g e m e n t o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t and the members o f h i s f o r m e r h o u s e h o l d as t ime p a s s e s , r e s u l t i n g i n a change i n s t a t u s f o r the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t : 88 'The forces that p u l l a divorced father into a d i f f e r e n t o r b i t from that of his f i r s t family are comparable i n a way to those that have come to exclude grandparents from an inner core of most f a m i l i e s . The father and the grandparents are s p e c i a l people, but they are i n the end just v i s i t o r s . ' 62 I t i s possible to i d e n t i f y groups within Chambers' sample for whom the loss of status occurs r e l a t i v e l y q u i c k l y . The unemployed, the part-time workers and the young b l u e - c o l l a r workers are a l l more mobile than the 63 middle-aged c l e r i c a l workers. I t i s mobility a f t e r divorce which 'conduces to the disengagement of non-custodial parent and former household. There are, no doubt, other factors involved but the physical distance between them helps to diminish the immediacy of past connections, that sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y which appears so important to continued payment. Perhaps i t i s at this juncture, when the status of father or husband has been l o s t and that of v i s i t o r or debtor assumed that the effectiveness of the enforcement process i s most severely tested. Chambers investigates a number of factors which, i t i s hypothesised, w i l l lead to a lessening of the f e e l i n g of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n the payer and a consequent reduction i n payments. Eckhardt's study i n Wisconsin, f o r example, had found that the r e c i p i e n t ' s remarriage was followed by 64 a decline i n payment i n a s i g n i f i c a n t number of cases. Amongst 65 Chambers' sample, no such decline was observed. Another possible reason for reducing payments i s that the s i n g l e parent begins to receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children. In these circumstances, the payer knows his payments go to reimburse the State. Nevertheless, no 66 d e c l i n e i n payments was observed. The suggestion i s that knowledge of the s e v e r i t y of the enforcement process was a s u f f i c i e n t motivation for 89 most men to pay. Indeed, a comparison between Genesee County and Washtenaw, where the enforcement process was far les s punitive, d i s c l o s e s that 'both the poorer- and better-paying subgroups within Genesee t y p i c a l l y paid around 16 to 24 percentage points more than th e i r 67 counterparts i n Washtenaw'. The threat inherent i n an enforcement process that makes l i b e r a l use of j a i l i s capable of obtaining more money from those who are r e l a t i v e l y self-motivated and more from those who might otherwise be considered impecunious. Reasons f o r payment and de f a u l t may c l e a r l y be very i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c . Although lack of money may j u s t i f y default i n some cases, i t i s c l e a r that i n a b i l i t y to pay may a r i s e because maintenance obligations are p r i o r i t i s e d lower than other o b l i g a t i o n s . Even i f there s t i l l remains s u f f i c i e n t money to pay the maintenance, the payments may not be made for psychological reasons a r i s i n g perhaps from the reduced ro l e i n the l i f e of the former household which the non-custodial parent i s c a l l e d upon to play. I f the r e l a t i o n s h i p i s reduced to that of c r e d i t o r and debtor, i f parental involvement and sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s diminished to that l e v e l , d e f a u l t may be predicted with some confidence. 68 Chambers' research i m p l i c i t l y poses a question. The d e f a u l t 69 perpetrated by such parents i s widespread and can be approached i n a v a r i e t y of ways. One method i s to devise a process of enforcement which i s e s s e n t i a l l y punative and unremittingly per s i s t e n t , making l i b e r a l use of imprisonment and i s s u i n g credible threats of sanctions to be employed. This holds out some prospect of success i n terms of securing transfers of income to the sin g l e parent family but i t s e f f e c t s on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the absent parent and his former household, p a r t i c u l a r l y the chil d r e n , i s le s s e a s i l y q u a n t i f i e d . 90 An a l t e r n a t i v e would be to seek to promote payment by t a k i n g s t e p s to e n s u r e t h a t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t d o e s n o t become d e t a c h e d f rom the former h o u s e h o l d , t h a t a sense o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s r e t a i n e d d e s p i t e the s e p a r a t i o n . The d a n g e r w i t h p r o p o s a l s w h i c h p o s i t a c o n t i n u i n g , a l b e i t d i f f e r e n t , r e l a t i o n s h i p between the p a r e n t s Is t h a t s u c h p r o p o s a l s h a r k back to the t ime when the f a m i l y was i n t a c t w i t h o u t a t t a c h i n g due s i g n i f i c a n c e to the p a r e n t s ' momentous d e c i s i o n no l o n g e r to m a i n t a i n an i n t a c t h o u s e h o l d . R e p r o d u c i n g the d e g r e e o f i n v o l v e m e n t w h i c h the p a r e n t e x p e r i e n c e s i n an i n t a c t h o u s e h o l d i s a f o o l i s h e x e r c i s e to a t t e m p t b e c a u s e i t p u t s o f f the d a y when the l o s s must be f a c e d . What may be p o s s i b l e w h i l s t r e s p e c t i n g the p a r e n t s ' d i v o r c e i s f o r the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t to be b e t t e r p r e p a r e d f o r h i s new r o l e and to be a s s i s t e d i n a d j u s t i n g to i t . T h i s i s n o t to a r g u e f o r a d i m i n u t i o n i n j o i n t p a r e n t i n g where t h i s i s d e s i r e d and a c h i e v a b l e . What i s s u g g e s t e d i s t h a t , i n t h o s e c a s e s where c o - o p e r a t i o n between the p a r e n t s seems u n l i k e l y , a s s i s t a n c e m i g h t s t i l l be a p p r o p r i a t e to d e v i s e a s c h e d u l e f o r v i s i t s and g e n e r a l l y to r e a s s u r e the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t t h a t a l l need n o t be l o s t . A new, i n e v i t a b l y d i f f e r e n t phase In h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p to h i s c h i l d r e n must be f a c e d and i t i s e a s y to u n d e r e s t i m a t e the s t r e n g t h r e q u i r e d to do s o . I t s h o u l d n o t be s u r p r i s i n g i f a b s e n t p a r e n t s s e e t h e i r p o s i t i o n as t h a t o f d e b t o r r a t h e r than more p o s i t i v e l y as p r o v i d e r . They may be g i v e n l i t t l e encouragement to s e e t h e m s e l v e s d i f f e r e n t l y . Where i s t h i s i n c e n t i v e to a d j u s t to what may be an unwelcome r o l e to come from? A p a r t f rom p e r s o n a l c o n t a c t s , a p o s s i b l e s o u r c e i s a c o u r t w e l f a r e o f f i c e r who c o u l d see d i v o r c i n g c o u p l e s f o r p u r p o s e s o f 91 conci l ia t ion , both towards each other's needs and towards their respective future roles . Such meetings may assist in resolutions of other disputes but, for present purposes, may help the couple to respect each other's future needs, both financial and emotional. The suspicion is that the weight of matrimonial work before the courts may render this suggestion of a pre-divorce conference impractical or i d e a l i s t i c . This is ironic because, i f thoughtfully implemented, such a programme might serve to diminish the workload by resolving issues which would otherwise be l i t igated later , for example the enforcement of maintenance arrears. By opening up channels of communication which might otherwise remain plugged, the temptation for the non-custodial parent to withhold maintenance may be d i m i n i s h e d . 7 0 4. Evaluation of Enforcement Processes Whether default occurs due to impecuniosity, i r responsibi l i ty or bitterness towards the former spouse, there must be a procedure available to the single parent and the State whereby the obligation to maintain can be enforced. This is to acknowledge e x p l i c i t l y the ambivalence of purpose of the enforcement process. The State has an interest in l imi t ing i t s expenditure on single parent families by recovering money from those whom the private law designates as responsible. The single parent's interest may be somewhat wider. If the order is greater than the potential social assistance payment from the State, there is a f inancial interest in recovering the amount of the order from the absent parent. Even where the order is below the level of social assistance payment, i f public funds are despised by the single parent or i f she has especially strong feelings that the absent parent 92 should support the household, she may view the enforcement process as a way of vindicating her convictions. In evaluating the suggested methods of enforcement, these needs of the participants in the process should be considered. There are the financial needs of the State and the single parent, which do not always coincide, but there are also psychological needs which are essentially functions of the degree to which the custodial parent is prepared to foster continued involvement by the absent parent in the household and the degree to which the absent parent desires such continued involvement and consequent responsibil i ty . I t has already been suggested that i t may be possible to promote payment by emphasising the continued responsibili ty of parenthood rather than the status of debtor which the non-custodial parent may acquire. An enforcement process too closely linked with the enforcement of judgement debts derived from commercial creditor and debtor relationships risks entirely ignoring the need to foster a continuing relationship between payer and recipient . This continuing relationship of respect for each other's roles after divorce may be crucial to the long-term welfare of the single parent family and i t would be wrong to think that default indicates in a l l cases the impossibility of salvaging such respect. Enforcement procedures must promote future payment, as well as recover arrears. In order to further the welfare of single parent families , i t i s clear that enforcement procedures must disprove the oft-quoted statement that ' for a l l practical purposes, a court order [for maintenance] i s often worth no more than the paper i t is written o n ' . 7 * Some possible features of enforcement procedures w i l l now be considered. 93 i Prospective and retrospective enforcement One possible feature would be to introduce an element of prospective enforcement, of coercion before any debt becomes due. The aim of such a reform would be to provide a greater measure of security for the single parent family by seeking to ensure a more regular pattern of payments and thereby obviating the need for periodic applications for welfare payments when the weekly support payment is withheld. By requiring no action from the payer, the choice of whether or not to pay could be eliminated from the process. Automatic deduction of support from the payer's wages by his employer would be one method of implementing this proposal to remove the temptation to use the wages for other purposes. 72 Chambers points out that this shi f t in the method used to col lect support can be compared to the decision in the U.S .A. during World War II to col lect taxes by means of deduction from wages rather than waiting for people to pay what they owed at the end of the taxation 73 period. He puts forward the model of the mandatory deduction from wages which begins as soon as the order is made and travels with the payer from job to job. The la t ter suggestion is not unprecedented for orders under the Attachment of Earnings Act 1971 in the U.K. are not discharged when the debtor leaves his job but are suspended and can be revived when he takes further employment. Such measures are an attempt to deal with the problem of the man who changes employment in order to avoid a wage assignment. P la inly , whether the man considers that leaving his job is worthwhile w i l l depend on the ease with which he can find comparable work and the strength of his resolve to avoid payment. Chambers found 7^ that most of the 23% of wage assignments which fai led 94 to p r o d u c e r e g u l a r payments i n Genesee C o u n t y , M i c h i g a n were e x p l a i n e d w i t h r e f e r e n c e to the man r e s i g n i n g o r h i s employer d i s m i s s i n g h i m . I f t h i s h a p p e n s , the p r o c e d u r e may have p r e c i p i t a t e d a p e r i o d when no payments c a n r e a s o n a b l y be e x p e c t e d o f the a b s e n t p a r e n t . The F i n a l R e p o r t o f the Committee o n E n f o r c e m e n t o f M a i n t e n a n c e O r d e r s i n C a n a d a 7 5 r e c o g n i s e d t h a t , i f a t t a c h m e n t o f e a r n i n g s was to be e f f e c t i v e i n s e c u r i n g r e g u l a r payments , the d e f a u l t e r r e q u i r e d p r o t e c t i o n f r o m e m p l o y e r s who were c o n c e r n e d a b o u t a d d i t i o n a l a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and migh t be tempted to d i s m i s s the employee r a t h e r t h a n make the d e d u c t i o n s . The recommendat ion was t h a t the p r o v i n c e s s h o u l d l e g i s l a t e to p r o t e c t the d e f a u l t e r f rom d i s m i s s a l and p r o v i d e r e m e d i e s o f r e i n s t a t e m e n t o r damages i f d i s m i s s a l o c c u r s due to s e r v i c e o f an 7 6 a t t a c h m e n t o r d e r on the e m p l o y e r . New B r u n s w i c k has gone f u r t h e s t a l o n g t h i s r o a d by v i r t u e o f s 125 o f the C h i l d and F a m i l y S e r v i c e s and F a m i l y R e l a t i o n s A c t 7 7 w h i c h p r o v i d e s f o r the s u g g e s t e d r e m e d i e s and p l a c e s the onus on the employer to show t h a t he was n o t m o t i v a t e d by the e x i s t e n c e o f the a t t a c h m e n t o r d e r i f he d i s m i s s e s o r o t h e r w i s e p e n a l i s e s the employee w h i l e the o r d e r i s i n e f f e c t o r w i t h i n s i x months o f i t s e x p i r y . Chambers ' model scheme w h i c h implements d e d u c t i o n s f rom wages as soon as the o r d e r i s made would n o t o b v i a t e the n e c e s s i t y f o r s u c h s a f e g u a r d s . However , the number o f o r d e r s a g a i n s t employees w o u l d i n e v i t a b l y make a t t a c h m e n t o f e a r n i n g s a f a r commoner o c c u r r e n c e and one w h i c h e m p l o y e r s wou ld r e g a r d as no more i n c o n v e n i e n t t h a n tax d e d u c t i o n s . T h e r e a r e , however , o t h e r f a c t o r s w h i c h s h o u l d c a u s e c o n c e r n b e s i d e s the r e s p o n s e s o f e m p l o y e r s . Chambers ' r e s e a r c h i n M i c h i g a n 95 shows that wage assignments produce steady payments across a l l groups of 78 non-custodial parents. Success seems assured because avoidance requires a change of job and payment i s r e l a t i v e l y painless for the absent parent because the money never becomes spendable. In so far as securing money for the State and the single parent family i s concerned, deduction from wages throughout the l i f e of the order, whether or not arrears had accrued, may be the best s o l u t i o n . I t can be argued, however, that such a system does l i t t l e to preserve a sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n the absent parent. Admittedly, Chambers i s c o r r e c t that the payments are provided by the parent and not from an amorphous 79 fund, thereby preserving the d i r e c t l i n k between parent and c h i l d . 80 However, as he points out i n an e a r l i e r passage, the involuntary nature of the deduction may j u s t i f i a b l y lead to resentment among men who would pay v o l u n t a r i l y . Equally, there i s the intervention of t h i r d parties between payer and r e c i p i e n t . These may be one or both of the non-custodial parent's employer, who w i l l have acquired d e t a i l s of his employee's personal l i f e , and the State, which may also i n c i d e n t a l l y acquire more personal data. The implementation of a scheme of mandatory wage deductions would r e s u l t i n the storage of much personal information by employers and, possibly, the State, which might act as an intermediary between employer and r e c i p i e n t . There i s another widely held c i v i l l i b e r t y to consider. The i n t e g r i t y of the pay packet was the subject of campaigns i n the early days of heavy i n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n . In 1870 the B r i t i s h Parliament passed the Wages Attachment A b o l i t i o n Act. Section 1 of this succinct measure provided that 'no order for the attachment of the wages of any servant, labourer, or workman s h a l l be made by the judge of any Court of Record 96 o r I n f e r i o r C o u r t ' . In the i n t r o d u c t i o n to the A c t i t i s no ted t h a t 'much i n c o n v e n i e n c e has a r i s e n by the a t t a c h m e n t o f wages to s a t i s f y judgements r e c o v e r e d i n some . . . C o u r t s ' . As the F i n e r Committee 81 r e m a r k s , the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f p r o c e d u r e s to r e c o v e r a r r e a r s o f m a i n t e n a n c e by d e d u c t i o n f rom wages was r e s i s t e d as the b e g i n n i n g o f a b r o a d e r a s s a u l t on the i n t e g r i t y o f w a g e s . When t h e Home S e c r e t a r y , M r . R . A . B u t l e r , i n t r o d u c e d the measure t o implement the r e c o v e r y o f a r r e a r s f rom w a g e s , he based h i m s e l f upon the 82 b e n e f i t s to be g a i n e d by c e a s i n g to j a i l employed d e f a u l t e r s . The s e n s i t i v i t y o f the i s s u e to the t r a d e u n i o n s was c l e a r l y a p p r e c i a t e d . I t r e m a i n s i m p o s s i b l e i n the U . K . to a t t a c h e a r n i n g s i f the p a y e r i s n o t i n a r r e a r s . E v e n i f he i s , the a t t a c h m e n t i s s o l e l y f o r the p u r p o s e o f c l e a r i n g the a r r e a r s . The d i lemma can be p u t s i m p l y . The u n w i e l d y n a t u r e o f r e t r o s p e c t i v e e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s e s t y p i c a l l y d e v e l o p e d to d e a l w i t h c o m m e r c i a l d e b t r e n d e r s them u n s u i t a b l e f o r r e c o v e r i n g s m a l l amounts o f m a i n t e n a n c e f r o m an e r r a t i c p a y e r . A p r o c e d u r e w h i c h o b t a i n s the money b e f o r e i t r e a c h e s the p a y e r would b e n e f i t the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . However , the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f s u c h a p r o c e d u r e i n f r i n g e s the p a y e r ' s p r i v a c y . The c o r r e c t a p p r o a c h i s to ask when the w a g e - e a r n e r l o s e s h i s r i g h t to k e e p h i s p r i v a t e a f f a i r s to h i m s e l f and to be f r e e to spend h i s w a g e s . I f s u b s t a n t i a l a r r e a r s have a c c r u e d and the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y has s u f f e r e d h a r d s h i p o r been r e l i e v e d by the S t a t e , t h e r e i s a s t r o n g argument t h a t any c l a i m w h i c h the w a g e - e a r n e r m i g h t o t h e r w i s e have w i t h r e s p e c t to the i n t e g r i t y o f the w a g e - p a c k e t s h o u l d be f o r f e i t e d . A t t h i s s t a g e , h i s wages s h o u l d be open to a t t a c h m e n t , n o t j u s t f o r a r r e a r s 97 b u t f o r payments as they b ecome d u e * T h i s p r o c e d u r e s h o u l d be a v a i l a b l e i f the p a y e r i s two months i n a r r e a r s , p r o v i d e d t h a t he has been warned w i t h i n t h a t t ime o f the c o n s e q u e n c e s o f d e f a u l t and has done n o t h i n g to i n d i c a t e a w i l l i n g n e s s to c h a n g e . The a t t a c h m e n t s h o u l d c o n t i n u e i n d e f i n i t e l y , p r o v i d e d t h a t the p a y e r can a p p l y to have i t d i s c h a r g e d a t any t i m e . T h i s p o s s i b i l i t y s h o u l d be a v a i l a b l e b e c a u s e d e d u c t i o n f rom wages i s s u c h an easy way to p a y . I f the p a y e r can c o n v i n c e the r e c i p i e n t o r , i f n e c e s s a r y , the c o u r t , t h a t payments w i l l be f o r t h c o m i n g w i t h o u t the a t t a c h m e n t o f w a g e s , the a u t o m a t i c d e d u c t i o n s s h o u l d c e a s e . V o l u n t a r y payment i s p r e f e r a b l e , i i J a i l as a means o f e n f o r c e m e n t In the e v a l u a t i o n o f a t t a c h m e n t o f e a r n i n g s as a method o f s e c u r i n g s u p p o r t p a y m e n t s , C h a m b e r s ' model was r e j e c t e d i n so f a r as i t p r o p o s e d t h a t mandatory a t t a c h m e n t s h o u l d take p l a c e f rom the d a t e o f the o r d e r , b e f o r e any d e f a u l t had o c c u r r e d . I t s h o u l d be b o r n e i n mind t h a t , i n a d v o c a t i n g a t t a c h m e n t o f e a r n i n g s as the b e s t method o f e n s u r i n g t h a t b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s r e m a i n p r i m a r i l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e i r own c h i l d r e n , he i s e s p e c i a l l y a n x i o u s to p r o p o s e a c c e p t a b l e a l t e r n a t i v e s to j a i l . T h e r e i s a c o n s e n s u s between Chambers and the F i n e r Commit tee t h a t j a i l does n o t engender p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s o f i n v o l v e m e n t i n and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y towards the f o r m e r h o u s e h o l d . T h i s p u n i t i v e means o f e n f o r c e m e n t d o e s n o t promote r e s p e c t w i t h i n a changed r e l a t i o n s h i p . T h i s s o r t o f argument a p p e a r s l i l y - l i v e r e d to t h o s e f o r whom the f a i l u r e to d i s c h a r g e f a m i l y r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i s an e s p e c i a l l y h e i n o u s o m i s s i o n . However , i t i s n e c e s s a r y to examine the j a i l i n g p r o c e s s to d i s c o v e r whether i t i s the f a i l u r e to pay w h i c h d e t e r m i n e s t h a t a man i s j a i l e d . 98 Chambers' research i n Genesee County, Michigan suggests that the sanction of imprisonment i s applied rather l i k e the punishment of decimation was applied to a Roman Legion. He found that 60% of h i s sample were 26 weeks i n arrears at some point i n their payment h i s t o r i e s 83 but le s s than a t h i r d of these men were j a i l e d . On what c r i t e r i a can such a s e l e c t i o n be based? Those who favour imprisonment may argue that i t serves as a deterrent and an encouragement to other payers, not just to the i n d i v i d u a l who i s j a i l e d . I f this purpose i s to be f u l f i l l e d , there i s no need f o r 'an overrepresentation i n the j a i l e d population of 84 b l u e - c o l l a r males' such as Chambers found i n Michigan or the numbers of ' s o c i a l inadequates' who the Finer Committee concluded were 85 confined. The steps along the road to j a i l f o r the maintenance defaulter are taken e a s i l y by those who are u n s k i l l e d at communicating with authority. Others are removed from the process at various stages, perhaps due to t h e i r greater aptitude for co-operating with the Friend 86 of the Court who enforces the order. I t i s perhaps not s u r p r i s i n g i n the l i g h t of t h i s d i f f e r e n t i a l use of j a i l that Chambers found examples of r e c i d i v i s m amongst j a i l e d d e f a u l t e r s , i n much the same way as petty 87 criminals can develop an apparent dependence on i n s t i t u t i o n a l l i f e . J a i l may also have a deleterious e f f e c t upon the r e l a t i o n s h i p between absent parent and c h i l d , the very r e l a t i o n s h i p which the whole ra t i o n a l e for f u l l and prompt enforcement proclaims to be worth preserving, a l b e i t i n truth only f o r f i n a n c i a l purposes. J a i l i s u n l i k e l y to lead to a c l o s e r r e l a t i o n s h i p . Rather, I t may p r e c i p i t a t e a departure by the absent parent upon release or fee l i n g s of g u i l t i n a 88 c h i l d who i s aware of what i s happening. A l l payers, good, bad and i n d i f f e r e n t , may unconsciously begin to see t h e i r children as the agents who may cause them to be j a i l e d . 99 In the l i g h t of the negative aspects of the use of j a i l f o r maintenance d e f a u l t e r s , i t was to be expected that the Finer Committee 89 would recommend that j a i l no longer be a v a i l a b l e . I f d e f a u l t i s considered explicable with reference to the payer's resources, the conclusion that 'sending maintenance defaulters to prison i s an essay i n 90 economic and s o c i a l f u t i l i t y ' commends i t s e l f . The problem i s that d e f a u l t may not be so e a s i l y explicable and that Chambers' research i n Michigan leads him to the conclusion that money gained by the j a i l i n g p o l i c y 'almost c e r t a i n l y ' exceeds the cost of j a i l i n g , i ncluding the l o s s to the State of the j a i l e d person's 91 income tax. For extracting c h i l d support from the payer's wages received, the punitive system works w e l l . Despite the negative impact of j a i l , this basic conclusion from Chambers' research i s inconvenient to the a b o l i t i o n i s t . I f the motivation for the enforcement system i s to c o l l e c t money for the State, or i f i t i s to increase the material well-being of those single parent fam i l i e s who have orders and whose net income would be increased by payment of the order, i t seems perverse to demand that j a i l cease to be an option. The question then becomes whether the notion of the welfare of the s i n g l e parent family should be expanded to comprehend more than f i n a n c i a l well-being. In deciding questions concerning custody and access, the courts purport to apply a broader notion of welfare and may seek to assess the psychological consequences for the c h i l d r e n of various d e c i s i o n s . I f t h i s expansion of the idea of welfare of the family i s permissible, the a b o l i t i o n i s t i s on firmer ground. The c o r r e c t approach i s that to acknowledge the a c c e p t a b i l i t y of j a i l as a remedy i s to be too zealous i n the pursuit of f i n a n c i a l 100 improvement for the single parent family, given that other methods of enforcement remain unchanged. I t is to shut the door on any ambition to foster a mutual respect in the parents, for the sanction in the hand of the custodial parent or the State is simply too great. The psychological effects of the policy on the children for whom the jai led parent has failed to provide may be severe. Jai l ings should be curtailed for their potentially brutalising effects upon the jai led people and the punitive, negative aspect of matrimonial breakdown which they emphasise. It is not that there is nothing better to be t r ied . For the unemployed, lack of resources may render enforcement a f u t i l e exercise in the f i r s t place. For the employee, deduction from wages after a period of default holds out the prospect of high returns. The self-employed person is harder to deal with and recourse may have to be made to the traditional enforcement processes such as d i s t r a i n t . Even with these greater d i f f i c u l t i e s , i t would be wrong to preserve imprisonment i f the assessment of i ts negative impact is correct. If i t is decided that j a i l should not be used, i t is inappropriate to threaten to use i t . Clearly, no credible threat can be made i f there is no means of carrying i t out. Though the threat of j a i l may have extracted some money from recalcitrant payers in the past, the conclusion of this discussion is that there are better ways of inducing payment. 5« RolesL-PJE^IndividualL and State in the Enforcement Process What is the basis upon which the State can intervene in order to assist the single parent in enforcing a support order? The a v a i l a b i l i t y of a variety of procedures, any of which may be chosen by a l i t igant in 101 order to compel the other party to obey a court order, i s not a sign of p a r t i a l i t y on the part of the State but i s a recognition that the d i g n i t y and e f f i c a c y of the courts depends upon the orders of the court being obeyed. The need to assert the r u l e of law may be s u f f i c i e n t j u s t i f i c a t i o n for widespread state intervention i n the enforcement process. On the other hand, when the ways i n which the State intervenes are considered, i t may be f e l t that too much bureaucratic power has been 92 harnessed on the side of the single parent. Access to personal information for the purposes of tracing d e f a u l t e r s , aggressive enforcement procedures which s t a r t automatically, a w i l l i n g n e s s p e r s i s t e n t l y to pursue def a u l t e r s : the struggle may appear unequal. The answer to this i s that there has been an impartial determination of the question and that any r i g h t to privacy gives way before the need to compel obedience to court orders. Before whole-heartedly accepting that the State can adopt any form of i n t r u s i v e mechanism i n order to further the welfare of si n g l e parent f a m i l i e s , i t i s worth r e c a l l i n g that the improvement of c o l l e c t i o n agencies has been motivated p r i m a r i l y by increasing public expenditure on welfare to support s i n g l e parent f a m i l i e s . In 1984, U.S. taxpayers 93 spent aboout $25 b i l l i o n f o r this purpose. I t was burgeoning public expenditure which led Ronald Reagan to say i n h i s 1983 P r e s i d e n t i a l Proclamation: 'The American people w i l l i n g l y extend help to ch i l d r e n i n need, i n c l u d i n g those whose parents are f a i l i n g to meet the i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . However, i t i s our o b l i g a t i o n to make every e f f o r t to place the f i n a n c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y where i t r i g h t l y belongs -on the parent who has been l e g a l l y ordered to support his c h i l d . ' The r e s u l t of this concern was the 1984 Child Support Enforcement 102 Amendments to T i t l e IV-D of the Social Security Act . The Office of Child Support Enforcement, a federal agency, has expanded i t s remit from 94 low income families to a l l families needing assistance in col lect ion. The Office also has expanded powers to obtain security for payment and to secure the withholding from wages and tax refunds of support 95 payments. For Jacob, this sort of legis la t ion is symptomatic of the development of public policy in the U.S .A. in the f i e l d of family l a w . ^ Congress is only at the margins of policy making. With particular reference to child support, Jacob comments: 'each piece of congressional action has been a response to a particular c r i s i s or complaint and has been passed with l i t t l e or no thought about how i t f i t s into the pattern of family law in the United States. ' 97 To this point, a certain amount of scepticism has been preserved with respect to the virtue of an enhanced role for the State in collecting instalments of support payments. Perhaps such a scheme is an ephemeral manifestation of c r i s i s management, or a guise under which the State can accumulate more data about the subject, or a means of favouring one party in a matrimonial dispute at the expense of the non-custodial parent. Whilst i t is correct to point out the poss ibi l i ty that a greater role for the State could be prone to a number of negative influences, i t is necessary to balance the risk of these coming to dominate the system againt the d i f f i c u l t i e s which a single parent faces in enforcing an order with no administrative assistance. I t is at this point that the objections to an enhanced role for the State begin to appear too scrupulous to be sustained. i Institution of proceedings: tracing the defaulter At the outset, there is the problem of the parent whose whereabouts 103 are unknown. The question of the extent to which information held by public departments can be used to trace a missing parent i s one that has been resolved i n favour of d i s c l o s u r e i n the United States. The Federal Parent Locator Service, which can be used by any r e c i p i e n t of c h i l d support whether or not they receive welfare, uses the Internal Revenue Service's income tax records, the S o c i a l Security Administration's annual earnings and benefit records and the National Personal Record Centre for federal employees, amongst other sources. The State Parent Locator Service can use voter r e g i s t r a t i o n s , records of receipt of workers' compensation and public assistance, prison records and data on 98 vehicle r e g i s t r a t i o n and d r i v e r s ' l i c e n c e s . P l a i n l y , the more sources that can be tapped, the more l i k e l i h o o d there i s of l o c a t i n g the missing parent. There i s , therefore, much to be said f o r the view that half-hearted l o c a t i o n services give the worst of both worlds. Personal data acquired f o r one purpose i s u t i l i s e d f o r another purpose without the consent of the subject of the data and there may be no s i g n i f i c a n t increase i n the l o c a t i o n of missing parents or the c o l l e c t i o n of payments. The Canadian Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance 99 Act 1986 supplements previous p r o v i n c i a l measures for the release of information by providing access to information banks controlled by the Department of National Health and Welfare and by the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission.*^ Before access w i l l be allowed, there must be agreement between the federal Minister of J u s t i c e and the provinces**^* concerning p r o v i n c i a l safeguards to protect information and designating the p r o v i n c i a l sources of information which must be 102 exhausted before the federal information can be used. The address of 104 the d e f a u l t e r and the name and a d d r e s s o f h i s e m p l o y e r may be r e l e a s e d c o n f i d e n t i a l l y to a c o u r t , a p r o v i n c i a l e n f o r c e m e n t s e r v i c e o r a peace 103 o f f i c e r i n v e s t i g a t i n g a c h i l d a b d u c t i o n . In t h i s manner and by p r e s c r i b i n g a p r o c e d u r e f o r a p p l i c a t i o n s to c o u r t w i t h a v iew to the 104 c o u r t r e q u e s t i n g r e l e a s e o f i n f o r m a t i o n , the f e d e r a l P a r l i a m e n t has sought to l i m i t the p o s s i b i l i t y o f the i n f o r m a t i o n b e i n g misused a n d , p r e s u m a b l y , to p r e s e r v e c o n f i d e n c e i n the s e c r e c y o f f e d e r a l i n f o r m a t i o n b a n k s . S t e e l c e r t a i n l y g i v e s the i m p r e s s i o n t h a t the l e g i s l a t i o n i s too c o y : ' S i n c e a c c e s s to f e d e r a l i n f o r m a t i o n banks was c o n s i d e r e d d e s i r a b l e b e c a u s e o f the ease o f t r a c i n g i n d i v i d u a l s by u s i n g t h e i r s o c i a l i n s u r a n c e n u m b e r s , one wonders a t the number o f hoops s e t up by t h i s l e g i s l a t i o n t h r o u g h w h i c h one must jump b e f o r e o b t a i n i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n . ' 105 However , S t e e l does n o t c o n v i n c i n g l y d i s p o s e o f the argument t h a t o b l i g i n g the government , a t whatever l e v e l , to d i s c l o s e i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t a p a r t i c u l a r p e r s o n f o r the p u r p o s e o f e n f o r c i n g a m a i n t e n a n c e o r d e r i s to p r e j u d i c e the e f f i c i e n c y o f the d e p a r t m e n t s u p p l y i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n . T h i s i s a q u i t e s e p a r a t e argument f r o m the s u g g e s t i o n t h a t the d e f a u l t e r ' s p r i v a c y i s i n f r i n g e d . T h i s seems too s c r u p u l o u s when the p o s s i b l e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f non -payments f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y a r e c o n s i d e r e d . The F i n e r Commit tee a c c e p t e d the argument t h a t the c o s t s o f h a m p e r i n g the work o f the d e p a r t m e n t s u p p l y i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n w i l l be s i g n i f i c a n t : 'Once c i t i z e n s know t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e m s e l v e s o r t h e i r a f f a i r s w i l l be p a s s e d o n by the Board o f I n l a n d Revenue to p e r s o n s and f o r p u r p o s e s d i f f e r e n t f rom those f o r w h i c h i t was s u p p l i e d i n the f i r s t i n s t a n c e , t e m p t a t i o n s to d i s h o n e s t y and d e c e p t i o n w i l l m u l t i p l y . ' 106 I t i s i m p o r t a n t to a p p r e c i a t e t h a t the F i n e r C o m m i t t e e ' s a p p r o a c h was 105 i n f o r m e d by the i d e a t h a t , as d e f a u l t o f t e n o c c u r s b e c a u s e the o r d e r c a n n o t be a f f o r d e d , d i s c l o s u r e p r o v i s i o n s would o n l y l e a d to m a r g i n a l l y b e t t e r c o l l e c t i o n s . T h e r e f o r e , i t i s s i m p l y n o t w o r t h p r e j u d i c i n g the c o l l e c t i o n o f t axes and n a t i o n a l i n s u r a n c e c o n t r i b u t i o n s . The C a n a d i a n and A m e r i c a n governments p l a i n l y b e l i e v e the s c a l e s a r e w e i g h t e d d i f f e r e n t l y . Due to the p o s t - d i v o r c e m o b i l i t y o f many men, k e e p i n g t r a c k o f the movements o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t i s a p o t e n t i a l l y d i f f i c u l t p r o b l e m f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t . She i s u n l i k e l y to be a b l e to a f f o r d the s e r v i c e s o f a p r i v a t e i n v e s t i g a t o r ! Her own r e s o u r c e s , i n terms o f t i m e , e n e r g y and p e r s o n a l c o n t a c t s , a r e p r o b a b l y l i m i t e d . In t h e s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s , i s the S t a t e to a l l o w the o r d e r o f the c o u r t to be thwar ted? The F i n e r Commit tee was r i g h t to r e c o g n i s e t h a t t h e r e i s a p o t e n t i a l p r o b l e m r e g a r d i n g the f r a n k n e s s w i t h w h i c h i n f o r m a t i o n i s s u p p l i e d to government d e p a r t m e n t s i f i t i s t h o u g h t t h a t i t m i g h t be p a s s e d on to the d e t r i m e n t o f the s u p p l i e r o f the i n f o r m a t i o n . * ^ 7 I t wou ld n o t be the o n l y d i s i n c e n t i v e to h o n e s t d i s c l o s u r e o f i n f o r m a t i o n b u t i t would be an a d d i t i o n a l o n e . The d i f f i c u l t y l i e s i n a s s e s s i n g the d e g r e e to w h i c h c o l l e c t i o n o f payments would be improved by the i n s t i t u t i o n o f a l o c a t o r s e r v i c e u s i n g government i n f o r m a t i o n . U n l e s s the s e r v i c e i s p a r t o f a l a r g e r p l a n , s u c h as t h a t a d m i n i s t e r e d by the O f f i c e o f C h i l d S u p p o r t E n f o r c e m e n t , improvements w i l l n o t be g r e a t . My a s s e s s m e n t i s t h a t a l o c a t o r s e r v i c e i s c r u c i a l to the s u c c e s s o f any p o l i c y to e n f o r c e the t r a n s f e r o f r e s o u r c e s to the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . I t i s the f i r s t s t a g e a n d , u n l e s s i t i s s u c c e s s f u l l y a c c o m p l i s h e d , n o t h i n g f u r t h e r c a n be d o n e . W i t h o u t s u c h a s e r v i c e , e v a s i o n by the p a y i n g p a r e n t i s much s i m p l e r . The p a r e n t w i t h the 106 r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r l o o k i n g a f t e r the c h i l d r e n f rom day to d a y c a n n o t a f f o r d to l o o k f o r the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . I t i s an u n e q u a l s t r u g g l e . P u b l i c r e s o u r c e s must be a v a i l a b l e a t t h i s f i r s t s tage o f the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s . i i I n s t i t u t i o n o f p r o c e e d i n g s ; d e c i d i n g to take e n f o r c e m e n t measures The A u s t r a l i a n I n s t i t u t e o f F a m i l y S t u d i e s ' r e s e a r c h i n V i c t o r i a found t h a t 16% o f r e s p o n d e n t s who were n o t p a y i n g o r r e c e i v i n g the f u l l amount o f m a i n t e n a n c e r e f e r r e d to the i n e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f c o u r t 108 p r o c e e d i n g s as p a r t o f the e x p l a n a t i o n . F o r e x a m p l e , the expense o f e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e e d i n g s compared w i t h the u n c e r t a i n t y o f the r e s u l t i s d i s c o u r a g i n g to r e c i p i e n t s who a r e c o n s i d e r i n g t r y i n g to e n f o r c e the o r d e r . S t e e l p o i n t s o u t t h a t l e a v i n g i t e n t i r e l y up to the s i n g l e p a r e n t to b r i n g e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e e d i n g s assumes a l e v e l o f l e g a l s o p h i s t i c a t i o n and awareness o f a v a i l a b l e c h o i c e s w h i c h , i n any p a r t i c u l a r c a s e , may be 109 q u i t e u n j u s t i f i e d . F u r t h e r m o r e , the s i n g l e p a r e n t may n o t have the r e s o u r c e s , i n terms o f money, t ime and e n e r g y , to engage i n a p r o t r a c t e d d i s p u t e w i t h a r e c a l c i t r a n t f o r m e r s p o u s e . I f t h e r e r e m a i n s h o s t i l i t y between the fo rmer s p o u s e s , a t t e m p t s to e n f o r c e m a i n t e n a n c e o r d e r s may i n v i t e v i o l e n c e o r , a t l e a s t , f u r t h e r a c r i m o n y w h i c h c a n become e v i d e n t when the s i m p l e s t c o - o p e r a t i o n w i t h r e s p e c t to the c h i l d r e n i s a t t e m p t e d . V i e w i n g m a t t e r s i n the r o u n d , i t i s h a r d l y s u r p r i s i n g t h a t many s i n g l e p a r e n t s c o n s i d e r e n f o r c e m e n t to be more t r o u b l e than i t i s u l t i m a t e l y l i k e l y to be w o r t h . The Commit tee o n E n f o r c e m e n t o f M a i n t e n a n c e O r d e r s i n Canada f a v o u r e d r e p l a c i n g e n f o r c e m e n t mechanisms based upon i n d i v i d u a l i n i t i a t i v e s w i t h p r o v i n c i a l programmes i n w h i c h e n f o r c e m e n t i s i n i t i a t e d 107 by p r o v i n c i a l government o f f i c i a l s . ' ' " * 0 The r a t i o n a l e i s t h a t r e m o v i n g the onus to b e g i n p r o c e e d i n g s f r o m the s i n g l e p a r e n t to a government a g e n c y w i l l l e a d to more e f f i c i e n t c o l l e c t i o n s , t h e r e b y more e f f e c t i v e l y a s s e r t i n g the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t and r e d u c i n g e x p e n d i t u r e on w e l f a r e . Though the c o m p r e h e n s i v e n e s s o f the a u t o m a t i c e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s e s d e s c r i b e d by S t e e l i n M a n i t o b a * * * and by Chambers i n M i c h i g a n * * ^ i s n o t r e p l i c a t e d i n o t h e r j u r i s d i c t i o n s , t h e r e a re examples o f o l d e r schemes o f more modest a m b i t i o n . I n o r d e r to r e d u c e w e l f a r e e x p e n d i t u r e , schemes have been d e v e l o p e d a l o n g the l i n e s o f the d i v e r s i o n p r o c e d u r e i n the U n i t e d K i n g d o m . Under t h i s p r o c e d u r e , the r e c i p i e n t a s s i g n s the r i g h t to r e c e i v e payments to the Depar tment o f S o c i a l S e c u r i t y , w h i c h pays the sums due u n d e r the o r d e r , b e i n g no more t h a n the r e c i p i e n t ' s b e n e f i t e n t i t l e m e n t , and takes o v e r en fo rcement o f the o r d e r . T h i s i s p o p u l a r w i t h s i n g l e p a r e n t s r e c e i v i n g w e l f a r e payments f o r i t a s s u r e s 113 them a r e g u l a r i n c o m e . A s s u m i n g the government d e p a r t m e n t i s n o t e n t i r e l y a l t r u i s t i c a l l y m o t i v a t e d , t h e r e must a l s o be the r a t i o n a l e t h a t the d e p a r t m e n t w i l l e n f o r c e the o r d e r more e f f e c t i v e l y than the i n d i v i d u a l . I f t h i s i s s o , w e l f a r e payments a r e r e d u c e d as the b u r d e n i s p l a c e d on the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to n o t e t h a t the p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t a c e n t r a l a g e n c y w i l l e n f o r c e o r d e r s more e f f e c t i v e l y than the i n d i v i d u a l r e c i p i e n t has n o t been u n i v e r s a l l y a c c e p t e d . I n Nova S c o t i a , a p i l o t p r o j e c t s i m i l a r to the B r i t i s h d i v e r s i o n p r o c e d u r e worked w e l l b u t was n o t ex tended beyond Cape B r e t o n b e c a u s e i t was f e l t 114 t h a t the r e c i p i e n t s were the b e s t e n f o r c e r s . The s e l f - s t a r t i n g , c o m p u t e r i s e d programme i n M a n i t o b a i s f a r more a m b i t i o u s i n i t s s c o p e . * * 5 Payments under a l l o r d e r s e n r o l l e d i n the 108 programme a r e m o n i t o r e d by the computer o p e r a t o r s i n W i n n i p e g . O r d e r s made under p r o v i n c i a l l e g i s l a t i o n a r e a u t o m a t i c a l l y e n r o l l e d u n l e s s the r e c i p i e n t o p t s out o f the s c h e m e . W i t h r e s p e c t to the f e d e r a l d i v o r c e l e g i s l a t i o n , the onus i s on the r e c i p i e n t to o p t i n . A l l payments p u r s u a n t to e n r o l l e d o r d e r s a r e made t h r o u g h the agency o f the c o u r t o f f i c e s and e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e d u r e s f o l l o w , w i t h o u t any a c t i o n on the p a r t o f the r e c i p i e n t , i f the p a y e r d e f a u l t s . We have so f a r f o c u s e d on the i n s t i t u t i o n o f p r o c e e d i n g s f o r r e c o v e r y and the d i s i n c e n t i v e s to t a k i n g even the f i r s t s t e p i n the p r o c e d u r e , as opposed to the c o n d u c t o f the p r o c e e d i n g s t h e m s e l v e s . I t s h o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d whether i t i s p r o p e r f o r the S t a t e to i n i t i a t e p r o c e e d i n g s to e n f o r c e o b l i g a t i o n s when the b e n e f i c i a r y o f the o b l i g a t i o n has g i v e n no s p e c i f i c i n d i c a t i o n t h a t e n f o r c e m e n t i s r e q u i r e d on t h i s o c c a s i o n a n d , i n more ext reme c a s e s , when e n f o r c e m e n t i s n o t d e s i r e d by the b e n e f i c i a r y o f the o b l i g a t i o n . Is the c o n v e n i e n c e and p o t e n t i a l e f f i c i e n c y i n c o l l e c t i n g payments o f the M a n i t o b a model to overshadow the r e q u i r e m e n t s o f a p a r t i c u l a r c a s e ? I f s u c h a model i s p u t i n p l a c e , when w i l l i t be p e r m i s s i b l e f o r a r e c i p i e n t to choose n o t to e n f o r c e an o r d e r ? C l e a r l y , t h e s e q u e s t i o n s r e q u i r e an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the p u r p o s e f o r w h i c h the scheme i s i m p l e m e n t e d . I f i t i s e s t a b l i s h e d s o l e l y to a s s i s t s i n g l e p a r e n t s f o r whom e n f o r c e m e n t wou ld o t h e r w i s e be too d a u n t i n g a p r o s p e c t , i t f o l l o w s t h a t the a g e n c y must f o l l o w the w i s h e s o f i t s c l i e n t s , the r e c i p i e n t s o f the o r d e r s . However , i f p a r t o f the m o t i v e f o r i m p l e m e n t i n g a scheme o f a u t o m a t i c e n f o r c e m e n t i s to r e d u c e government e x p e n d i t u r e and to emphas ise the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t , i t f o l l o w s t h a t the agency i s a l s o r e s p o n s i b l e to the t r e a s u r y o f the g o v e r n m e n t . To 109 implement u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y the w i s h e s o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s who do n o t want e n f o r c e m e n t measures taken b u t who r e c e i v e money f rom the S t a t e would be c o n t r a r y to a p o s s i b l e p u r p o s e o f the scheme. The f i n a l p r o b l e m i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h o p t i n g o u t o f a s e l f - s t a r t i n g e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s i s one t h a t i s l e s s s u s c e p t i b l e to d e t e c t i o n by a c o m p u t e r , w h i c h c o u l d q u i t e e a s i l y s i n g l e o u t t h o s e m a i n t e n a n c e r e c i p i e n t s on w e l f a r e . I t i s the q u e s t i o n o f what i s b e s t f o r the c h i l d r e n o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . S h o u l d t h e i r c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t be p e r m i t t e d to f o r e g o payments i n r e t u r n f o r the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t a g r e e i n g n o t to v i s i t the c h i l d r e n ? T h i s may s u i t b o t h p a r e n t s who a r e g l a d to be r i d o f e a c h o t h e r b u t n o t the c h i l d r e n whose i n t e r e s t s may be b e s t s e r v e d by c o n t i n u i n g the r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . S i m i l a r l y , the i n d i v i d u a l a d u l t s i n v o l v e d m i g h t a g r e e t h a t the p r e s e n t h o u s e h o l d a r r a n g e m e n t s s h o u l d be r e c o g n i s e d and t h a t no s u p p o r t payments w i l l be made o r r e c e i v e d by t h a t h o u s e h o l d . I t i s n o t too f a r f e t c h e d to c o n c e i v e o f a c h a i n o f s u c h h o u s e h o l d s i n w h i c h s t e p - p a r e n t s a g r e e to take on p r i m a r y r e s p o n s i b i l i t y j o i n t l y w i t h the n a t u r a l , c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . The a d m i n i s t r a t i v e b u r d e n f o r the e n f o r c e m e n t scheme would be l e s s e n e d though whether t h i s i s to the c h i l d r e n ' s b e n e f i t i s hard to s a y . T h e s e a r e n o t r e a l l y q u e s t i o n s f o r a d m i n i s t r a t o r s o f a s y s t e m a k i n to t a x a t i o n even i f s u c h agreements were d e t e c t a b l e . I n e v a l u a t i n g s e l f - s t a r t i n g e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e d u r e s , i t c a n n o t be i g n o r e d t h a t the a u t o m a t i c and prompt commencement o f p r o c e e d i n g s f o r r e c o v e r y may be an I m p o r t a n t component o f a c o m p r e h e n s i v e , c o s t - e f f e c t i v e s y s t e m . W h i l s t S t e e l v iews the d e p e n d e n t s p o u s e ' s l a c k o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the M a n i t o b a s y s t e m as i t s ' m o s t i m p o r t a n t 116 c h a r a c t e r i s t i c ' , the b e t t e r v i e w i s t h a t i t i s the m o n i t o r i n g o f 110 o r d e r s and the e f f i c i e n c y w i t h w h i c h d e f a u l t i s d e a l t w i t h t h a t d e m o n s t r a t e the v a l u e o f the c o m p u t e r i s e d p r o c e d u r e . Whether t h i s mechanism i s a c t i v a t e d by the i n d i v i d u a l o r the S t a t e i s n o t so c r u c i a l . R e c o g n i s i n g t h a t the S t a t e has a l e g i t i m a t e i n t e r e s t i n m i n i m i s i n g i t s e x p e n d i t u r e and e m p h a s i s i n g the p r i m a r y o b l i g a t i o n o f the n a t u r a l p a r e n t , t h e r e i s no o b j e c t i o n to the S t a t e a u t o m a t i c a l l y b e g i n n i n g r e c o v e r y p r o c e e d i n g s . I f the n a t u r a l p a r e n t i s n o t to p a s s f i n a n c i a l burdens to the t a x p a y e r , the d e c i s i o n whether o r n o t to p u r s u e h im f o r h i s c o n t r i b u t i o n s h o u l d n o t be l e f t up to the head o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y who has no f i n a n c i a l i n t e r e s t i n the d e c i s i o n o r the p r o c e e d i n g s i n t h o s e c a s e s where the m a i n t e n a n c e payments have s i m p l y been r e p l a c e d by w e l f a r e . T h i s l a c k o f i n t e r e s t e x p l a i n s why i t i s a d v o c a t e d t h a t the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e e d i n g s i n t h e s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s s h o u l d be a m a t t e r between the S t a t e and the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . The i n t e r e s t o f the S t a t e i n c a s e s i n v o l v i n g w e l f a r e payments s h o u l d be made e x p l i c i t . In c a s e s n o t i n v o l v i n g w e l f a r e p a y m e n t s , t h e r e i s no need f o r the p r o c e d u r e to b e g i n a u t o m a t i c a l l y . T h i s i s n o t n e c e s s a r i l y to put the onus on the s i n g l e p a r e n t to i n v o l v e h e r s e l f i n c o s t l y , a c r i m o n i o u s p r o c e e d i n g s . I t i s a c c e p t e d t h a t i t i s q u i t e wrong t h a t c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s s h o u l d be d i s s u a d e d f r o m s e e k i n g money w h i c h w i l l i m p r o v e t h e i r f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n by the c o m p l e x i t y o r w o r r y o f the c o n t e m p l a t e d p r o c e e d i n g s . What i s s u g g e s t e d i s t h a t the s i n g l e p a r e n t s h o u l d have to i n d i c a t e to the agency t h a t e n f o r c e m e n t i s d e s i r e d . T h i s s h o u l d be an i n f o r m a l p r o c e d u r e w h i c h e n c o u r a g e s i t s u s e . A l e t t e r , t e l e p h o n e c a l l o r p e r s o n a l v i s i t to the agency s h o u l d a l l s u f f i c e . In a d v o c a t i n g t h a t , i n c a s e s o t h e r t h a n t h o s e i n v o l v i n g w e l f a r e p a y m e n t s , the p r o c e s s s h o u l d n o t s t a r t a u t o m a t i c a l l y , i t i s a c c e p t e d I l l t h a t some c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s may o m i t to r e q u e s t e n f o r c e m e n t f o r r e a s o n s w h i c h a r e n o t i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h the b e s t i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d r e n i n the h o u s e h o l d . N e v e r t h e l e s s , i t i s a rgued t h a t s u c h r e a s o n s a r e v e r y d i f f i c u l t to d e t e c t and t h a t the S t a t e s h o u l d n o t t ake i t upon i t s e l f to e n f o r c e p r i v a t e o b l i g a t i o n s u n l e s s i t s own f i n a n c i a l i n t e r e s t s a r e a t s t a k e . i i i C o n d u c t o f p r o c e e d i n g s S t e e l ' s r e v i e w o f C a n a d i a n e n f o r c e m e n t sys tems l e a d s h e r to the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t 'when the s t a t e i n v o l v e s i t s e l f more a c t i v e l y i n the e n f o r c e m e n t o f m a i n t e n a n c e and s h i f t s the onus f o r e n f o r c e m e n t onto i t s own s h o u l d e r s . . . the r a t e o f c o m p l i a n c e i n c r e a s e s s i g n i f i c a n t l y ' . * * 7 I t i s i n the e f f i c i e n t c o n d u c t o f e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e e d i n g s once a c o m p l a i n t i s made by the r e c i p i e n t t h a t S t a t e a g e n c i e s a r e p o t e n t i a l l y more c a p a b l e than the i n d i v i d u a l . They a r e p r e s u m a b l y f u l l y i n f o r m e d o f the o p t i o n s open to them a n d , l i k e any d e b t c o l l e c t i o n d e p a r t m e n t , a d v a n t a g e can be taken o f economies d e r i v e d f rom p r o c e s s i n g l a r g e numbers o f s i m i l a r c a s e s . N e i t h e r do e m o t i o n a l c o n f l i c t s i n t r u d e upon the p r o s e c u t i o n o f the t a s k o f c o l l e c t i n g the money. In M a n i t o b a , the recommendat ion o f the Commit tee on E n f o r c e m e n t o f M a i n t e n a n c e O r d e r s i n Canada t h a t a d m i n i s t r a t i v e powers be i n c r e a s e d and 118 t ime s p e n t on j u d i c i a l p r o c e e d i n g s c u r t a i l e d has been i m p l e m e n t e d . T h e r e a r e o p t i o n s open to the a d m i n i s t r a t o r b e f o r e he b r i n g s the d e f a u l t e r b e f o r e the c o u r t to show c a u s e why he d i d n o t p a y . F o r example , the d e f a u l t e r can be examined w i t h r e s p e c t to h i s f i n a n c i a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s by an o f f i c e r o f the c o u r t . T h i s c a n s e r v e as the b a s i s f o r a n e g o t i a t e d s e t t l e m e n t o f the d i s p u t e . 112 In e v a l u a t i n g a d m i n i s t r a t i v e e n f o r c e m e n t s y s t e m s , i t would be wrong to f o c u s e x c l u s i v e l y on the p o s s i b i l i t y o f c o l l e c t i n g money by the r e g u l a r and a u t o m a t i c i n i t i a t i o n o f c o u r t p r o c e e d i n g s . No m a t t e r how e f f i c i e n t l y and p r o m p t l y s u c h p r o c e e d i n g s a r e p u r s u e d , a v o l u n t a r y s e t t l e m e n t h o l d s o u t the p r o s p e c t o f a c h e a p e r r e s o l u t i o n to the d i s p u t e and a b e t t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p between p a y e r and f o r m e r h o u s e h o l d . The S c a n d i n a v i a n c o u n t r i e s have sys tems w h i c h d e m o n s t r a t e the v a l u e o f mechanisms f o r r e a c h i n g s e t t l e m e n t s w i t h r e s p e c t to m a i n t e n a n c e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , w h i c h a r e b u t t r e s s e d by the c r e d i b l e p r o s p e c t o f c o m p u l s o r y p r o c e d u r e s i f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t f a i l s to a d d r e s s h i s 119 r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . In Sweden, c h i l d w e l f a r e o f f i c e r s w i t h i n t e g r a t e d p o w e r s , i n c l u d i n g the e n f o r c e m e n t o f o b l i g a t i o n s , a r e e f f e c t i v e i n l i m i t i n g j u d i c i a l t ime s p e n t on s u c h m a t t e r s . The s i n g l e p a r e n t has a p a r t i c u l a r o f f i c e r f o r a c l o s e a d v i s e r , p a r t o f whose r o l e i t i s to seek a s e t t l e m e n t o f the d i s p u t e . As C o c k b u r n and H e c l o p o i n t o u t , a ' g r e a t d e a l o f e f f o r t i n S c a n d i n a v i a goes i n t o d e t e r m i n i n g p a t e r n i t y , f i x i n g and e n f o r c i n g 120 p r i v a t e m a i n t e n a n c e ' . T h e r e i s c l e a r l y a d e t e r m i n a t i o n to d e a l w i t h the p r o b l e m i n a more p e r s o n a l manner , to r e f r a i n f rom u s i n g c o u r t p r o c e e d i n g s i f p o s s i b l e and to r e j e c t an a p p r o a c h w h i c h s t r e s e s an i n t i t i a l l y p u n i t i v e r e s p o n s e . T h i s i s n o t to say t h a t the a c t i o n t a k e n w i l l be any l e s s p u r p o s e f u l . I t i s c l e a r f rom the w i d e a c c e s s to p e r s o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t w h i c h the S w e d i s h 121 a u t h o r i t i e s a r e g r a n t e d t h a t , a l t h o u g h s e t t l e m e n t Is d e s i r e d , t h e r e i s no compromise f rom the p o s i t i o n t h a t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t i s r e s p o n s i b l e . 113 I t has a l r e a d y been a rgued t h a t the p a y e r has no l e g i t i m a t e c o m p l a i n t t h a t the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t has an a l l y i n a b u r e a u c r a c y w h i c h i s d e s i g n e d to e n a b l e her to v i n d i c a t e her r i g h t s and to emphas ise the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s c o n t i n u i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . I f an i m p a r t i a l d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f the i s s u e s has been made, the S t a t e i s n o t compromised i f i t imp lements a scheme to p r e c l u d e the a v o i d a n c e o f c o u r t o r d e r s . A d m i n i s t r a t i v e schemes a r e open to c r i t i c i s m i f p a y e r s a r e n o t t r e a t e d f a i r l y and r e a s o n a b l y . P o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r abuse a b o u n d . P e r s o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n may be u n n e c e s s s a r i l y t r a n s f e r r e d f rom o t h e r b o d i e s o r d i s c l o s e d . The s i m p l i c i t y w i t h w h i c h c o u r t p r o c e e d i n g s may be i n s t i t u t e d and p r o s e c u t e d may p r o v e s e d u c t i v e , l e a d i n g to a f a i l u r e to u s e o t h e r l e s s p u n i t i v e o p t i o n s . G u i d e l i n e s q u i t e p r o p e r l y propounded to s u p p l y a d m i n i s t r a t o r s w i t h i d e a s a b o u t how to d e a l w i t h p a r t i c u l a r c a s e s may be r i g i d l y adhered t o , no r e g a r d b e i n g p a i d to the f a c t s o f the p a r t i c u l a r d i s p u t e . The v e r y e f f i c i e n c y o f the c o m p u t e r i s e d s y s t e m w i t h o r d e r s f rom a w i d e a r e a e n t e r e d i n t o i t and c o n s t a n t l y m o n i t o r e d i s an image o f power . I t c o u l d be e x e r c i s e d f o r l a u d a b l e p u r p o s e s . I t can be a rgued t h a t i t i s the abuse o f economic power by n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s t h a t p r o d u c e d the momentum f o r the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f s u c h s y s t e m s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , the image o f the e x e c u t i v e u s i n g i t s powers f o r the p u r p o s e s o f v i c t i m i s a t i o n p e r s i s t s . The t r a d i t i o n a l remedy f o r abuse o f a d m i n i s t r a t i v e d i s c r e t i o n i s to seek j u d i c i a l r e v i e w o f the e x e r c i s e o f the d i s c r e t i o n . T h e r e i s a l r e a d y some e v i d e n c e t h a t the c o u r t s a r e aware o f the powers g i v e n to e n f o r c e m e n t a u t h o r i t i e s and o f the need to e n s u r e t h a t the i n d i v i d u a l who f i n d s h i m s e l f the opponent o f the a u t h o r i t y i s f a i r l y t r e a t e d . 114 I t i s c l e a r t h a t the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f the S u p p o r t and C u s t o d y 122 O r d e r s E n f o r c e m e n t A c t i n O n t a r i o was n o t w i t h o u t t e e t h i n g p rob lems w h i c h the c o u r t s had to c o r r e c t . By s 2(2) o f the A c t , i t i s the d u t y o f the D i r e c t o r o f S u p p o r t and C u s t o d y E n f o r c e m e n t ' t o e n f o r c e s u p p o r t and c u s t o d y o r d e r s . . . i n the manner , i f any , t h a t a p p e a r s p r a c t i c a l ' . 123 C o s t e l l o v Somers i s one c a s e i n w h i c h the O n t a r i o Supreme C o u r t has i n v e s t i g a t e d the ambi t o f t h i s d i s c r e t i o n . The former husband had c u s t o d y o f the c h i l d o f the m a r r i a g e and the f o r m e r w i f e was o r d e r e d to pay c h i l d s u p p o r t . She f e l l i n t o a r r e a r s when she l e f t her job to c a r e f o r a baby o f h e r s e c o n d m a r r i a g e . The M a n i t o b a C o u r t o f Q u e e n ' s B e n c h p r o v i s i o n a l l y v a r i e d the o r d e r by r e m i t t i n g a r r e a r s and r e d u c i n g the 124 amount p a y a b l e p u r s u a n t to s s 18(2) and 19 o f the D i v o r c e A c t 1985 . When she r e t u r n e d t o O n t a r i o , a p p l i c a t i o n was made to have the p r o v i s i o n a l o r d e r c o n f i r m e d by the O n t a r i o c o u r t s b u t t h e r e was a d e l a y o f a b o u t a y e a r b e c a u s e o f the M a n i t o b a n a u t h o r i t y ' s f a i l u r e to send the r e q u i r e d d o c u m e n t a t i o n to O n t a r i o . U n d e t e r r e d by knowledge o f the p r o v i s i o n a l o r d e r , the D i r e c t o r s e i z e d the fo rmer w i f e ' s c a r . No s e a r c h f o r i n c u m b r a n c e s had b e e n u n d e r t a k e n i n M a n i t o b a and i t t r a n s p i r e d t h a t the D i r e c t o r had to r e t u r n the c a r to s a t i s f y a p r i o r l i e n . The c o u r t o r d e r e d the D i r e c t o r to b e a r the c o s t s o f the n e e d l e s s s e i z u r e . A c u r i o u s argument was advanced t h a t the D i r e c t o r s h o u l d be a l l o w e d more l e e w a y b e c a u s e the s y s t e m o f e n f o r c e m e n t was i n i t s i n f a n c y b u t t h i s was r e j e c t e d : ' t h e r e i s n o t h i n g n o v e l a b o u t s e i z i n g c h a t t e l s n o r mak ing a p r o p e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n p r i o r to s e i z u r e . ' 125 The D i r e c t o r a l s o adopted a p o l i c y whereby no d i s p u t e wou ld be s e t t l e d u n l e s s the d e f a u l t e r agreed to an a t t a c h m e n t o f one h a l f o f h i s n e t w a g e s . T h i s r i g i d p o l i c y , w h i c h gave the l a w y e r r e p r e s e n t i n g the 115 D i r e c t o r no room to negotiate and thereby save time and expense, was disapproved of by two P r o v i n c i a l Court judges i n Director of Support v 126 127 Glover and Director of Support v Mclntyre . In the l a t t e r case, Vogelsang Prov. J . commented: 'Any r i g i d adherence to the 50 per cent exemption ... without any chance for movement or freedom to negotiate i n accordance with e x i s t i n g circumstances, I think, i s u n f a i r to debtors generally and, c o l l a t e r a l l y , to counsel appearing for the d i r e c t o r . ' 128 Fleury DCJ. i s not so ready to c r i t i c i s e the Director's 129 i n f l e x i b i l i t y i n Director of Support v Couling. A p r o v i n c i a l court judge had transferred the Director's a p p l i c a t i o n to attach the defaulter's earnings to the court most convenient to the de f a u l t e r , apparently out of exasperation at the Director's unwillingness to negotiate. Fleury DCJ. disapproved of j u d i c i a l c r i t i c i s m of the Director's stance and continued: 'L i t i g a n t s have every r i g h t to press their claims to the f u l l extent authorised by law. This i s even more so i n the case of an o f f i c i a l appointed by the government to eliminate longstanding i n j u s t i c e s . ' 130 As Professor McLeod points out i n his annotation, this i s a move towards recognition of the Director as a s p e c i a l l i t i g a n t with an enormous 131 caseload. I f i t i s adjudged unreasonable for the Director to adopt p o l i c i e s , the promptness and e f f i c i e n c y of the agency i s undermined. On the other hand, i f the j u d i c i a r y adopts an absentionist stance, there may be a f a i l u r e to balance pursuit of the statutory purposes against f a i r n e s s of treatment f o r the subject of the enforcement procedure. 116 Chambers a l s o e x p r e s s e s c o n c e r n a b o u t how d e c i s i o n s a r e made w i t h i n 132 the a g e n c y c h a r g e d w i t h e n f o r c i n g m a i n t e n a n c e o r d e r s . How i s i t d e c i d e d who i s to be b r o u g h t b e f o r e the c o u r t and who i s to be s u b j e c t e d to p u n i t i v e measures when t h e r e a r e many c a n d i d a t e s w i t h the same c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ? How g r e a t i s the r i s k o f e n f o r c e m e n t measures b e i n g used d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y a g a i n s t p a r t i c u l a r g r o u p s who may, f o r some r e a s o n , be more v u l n e r a b l e than o t h e r s ? T h e s e a r e v a l i d c o n c e r n s and i t i s i m p o r t a n t t h a t the e n f o r c e m e n t a g e n c y ' s work i s open to p u b l i c s c r u t i n y and to j u d i c i a l r e v i e w i n o r d e r to c u r b e x c e s s e s w h i c h i n e v i t a b l y o c c u r when a body has a c l e a r l y d e f i n e d a im and a p r o j e c t w h i c h i t i s c h a r g e d w i t h b r i n g i n g to f r u i t i o n . The e a g e r n e s s o f t h o s e i n v o l v e d c a n l e a d to a l a c k o f i n s i g h t w i t h r e s p e c t to the f u l l d i m e n s i o n s o f the p r o b l e m . I t i s f o r t h i s r e a s o n t h a t a c o m p e t i t i v e a tmosphere amongst c o l l e c t i o n a g e n c i e s i n 133 d i f f e r e n t r e g i o n s shoud n o t be f o s t e r e d . I f the a g e n c y i s n o t e q u i p p e d w i t h the i n t e g r a t e d powers o f the Swed ish model d i s c u s s e d a b o v e , t h e r e i s the d a n g e r t h a t the a g e n c y w i l l be imbued w i t h the u n d e s i r a b l e e t h o s t h a t the p r o b l e m o f d e f a u l t a r i s e s s i m p l y due to the s t u b b o r n n e s s o f n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s and b e g i n to d e a l w i t h d e f a u l t i n the same manner as a f i n a n c e company. I t i s w i t h these d a n g e r s i n mind t h a t the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f a g e n c i e s o f the S t a t e to d e a l w i t h the c o n d u c t o f e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e e d i n g s i s to be w e l c o m e d . The b u r d e n o f e n f o r c e m e n t was too g r e a t f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t to b e a r a l o n e . C o m p l i c a t i o n s o f p r o c e d u r e , renewed a c r i m o n y , expense and d e l a y a l l m i l i t a t e d a g a i n s t a s u c c e s s f u l c o n c l u s i o n to the p r o c e e d i n g s . A v o i d a n c e by w e a r i n g down the w o u l d - b e e n f o r c e r was a p o s s i b i l i t y . I t i s r i g h t t h a t the S t a t e s h o u l d seek to c o r r e c t an 117 unsatisfactory p o s i t i o n by implementing c e n t r a l i s e d , methodical procedures which r e l i e v e the custodial parent of the s t r a i n of personal commitment to the prosecution of the proceedings. I t i s , however, c r u c i a l to recognise the p o t e n t i a l f o r a r b i t r a r y measures against the i n d i v i d u a l which such schemes involve and to avoid f o s t e r i n g too zealous an a t t i t u d e amongst those administering i t . This i s not to argue for i n e f f i c i e n c y but for appreciation of the need for fairness towards the non-custodial parent. The establishment of such agencies i s also d e s i r a b l e i n connection with c o l l e c t i n g payments from other j u r i s d i c t i o n s , whether i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y or within a federal system. The existence of s p e c i a l i s t bodies with computerised information banks should f a c i l i t a t e the co-operation envisaged by enactments such as Part 4.1 of the B r i t i s h 134 Columbian Family Relations Act. S i m i l a r l y , the operation of the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act in the United States may be improved by the existence of better organised central agencies to which the State requesting enforcement can submit information. Takas complains that presently, although the Act i s of p o t e n t i a l l y great value to s i n g l e parents seeking to enforce across State boundaries, the f a i l u r e of States uniformly to implement amendments recommended by the Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws i n 1958 and 1968 has 135 resulted i n numerous d i f f e r e n t systems across the country. Whilst e s t a b l i s h i n g a bureaucracy would not d i r e c t l y a f f e c t this incongruence, i t would a s s i s t the processing of requests for enforcement from other States and may even provide momentum for further change. 118 6* E n f o r c e m e n t : A F i r s t P r i o r i t y ; f o r the S i n g l e P a r e n t F a m i l y ? A t t h i s s t a g e , i t Is p e r t i n e n t to ask whether i t has been p r o v e d t h a t prompt and f u l l e n f o r c e m e n t o f s u p p o r t o r d e r s a t a c o s t , i n terms o f t i m e , money and e n e r g y , w h i c h the s i n g l e p a r e n t can a f f o r d w i l l s o l v e the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y ' s f i n a n c i a l p r o b l e m s . On the b a s i s o f the m a t e r i a l d i s c u s s e d a b o v e , the p r o p e r c o n c l u s i o n i s t h a t i t would be a m i s t a k e to b e l i e v e t h a t the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y c a n a t t a i n an a p p r o p r i a t e s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g , whether t h i s i s a c e r t a i n minimum s t a n d a r d o r a s t a n d a r d c o m p a r a b l e to t h a t o f the a b s e n t p a r e n t , by e n s u r i n g t h a t c o u r t o r d e r s a r e honoured i n f u l l . A l t h o u g h one m o t i v e f o r the S t a t e ' s i n t e r v e n t i o n i n the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s i s to r e d u c e the amount s p e n t on s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s , i t i s v e r y u n l i k e l y t h a t s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s w i l l be a b l e to a t t a i n an a p p r o p r i a t e s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g w i t h o u t any r e l i a n c e on p u b l i c f u n d s . T h i s c o u l d be b e c a u s e the amount o f the o r d e r i s i n a d e q u a t e f o r the p u r p o s e o r b e c a u s e no o r d e r has been o b t a i n e d . I f i t i s a c c e p t e d t h a t o n l y a p r o p o r t i o n o f those e l i g i b l e f o r o r d e r s p r o c e e d so f a r as to o b t a i n an o r d e r , i t c a n n o t be m a i n t a i n e d t h a t i n t e r v e n t i o n a t the s t a g e o f e n f o r c i n g the o r d e r w i l l e f f e c t a b e n e f i c i a l r e d i s t r i b u t i o n o f income f o r a l l s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . T h i s wou ld i m p l y t h a t the f o c u s s h o u l d be on e n f o r c i n g the o b l i g a t i o n to s u p p o r t r a t h e r than on e n f o r c i n g the c o u r t o r d e r , f o r t h i s would s u p p l y the r a t i o n a l e f o r i n t e r v e n i n g a t an e a r l i e r s t a g e o f the p r o c e s s i n o r d e r to e n s u r e t h a t more o f those who are e l i g i b l e take up the o p p o r t u n i t y to o b t a i n a c o u r t o r d e r . The e x t e n t to w h i c h t h i s e a r l i e r i n t e r v e n t i o n t a k e s the form o f a s s i s t a n c e to those r e q u e s t i n g i t o r p r e s s u r e to v i n d i c a t e r i g h t s w i l l depend upon how c o n c e r n e d the 119 a u t h o r i t i e s a r e to e m p h a s i s e the p r i m a c y o f the o b l i g a t i o n o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . A d m i t t i n g t h a t a c o m p r e h e n s i v e programme o f e n f o r c e m e n t wou ld o n l y a f f e c t a p r o p o r t i o n o f the t o t a l number o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s d o e s n o t p r e j u d i c e a c o n c l u s i o n t h a t the programme w o u l d be w o r t h w h i l e b e c a u s e i t would somewhat improve the f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n o f t h o s e s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s w i t h c o u r t o r d e r s and i t would d e c r e a s e p u b l i c e x p e n d i t u r e on them. P o s s i b l e f e a t u r e s o f an i d e a l programme were c o n s i d e r e d and i t was s u g g e s t e d t h a t i t was u n d e s i r a b l e f o r s u c h programmes to be a k i n to d e b t c o l l e c t i o n a g e n c i e s , e n t i r e l y removed f r o m the d o m e s t i c c i r c u m s t a n c e s o f the p e o p l e i n v o l v e d . The more awareness o f the c o n t e x t o f s u p p o r t d e b t t h a t t h e r e i s w i t h i n the a g e n c y , the more l i k e l i h o o d t h e r e i s o f p r o m o t i n g f u t u r e p a t t e r n s o f r e g u l a r payment and o f a v o i d i n g abuse o f the d i s c r e t i o n s v e s t e d i n the a g e n c y . What i s e n v i s a g e d i s an a g e n c y w i t h the r e s o u r c e s to a t t e m p t to c o n c i l i a t e when d i s p u t e s a r i s e b u t w i t h the power to u s e the c o u r t s i f , i n c a s e s i n w h i c h the S t a t e has no f i n a n c i a l i n t e r e s t , the r e c i p i e n t o f s u p p o r t r e q u e s t s i t . The s a n c t i o n o f j a i l , w i t h i t s d e l e t e r i o u s e f f e c t s on the i n d i v i d u a l j a i l e d and p o s s i b l y on those f o r whom he s h o u l d be p r o v i d i n g , s h o u l d be removed and i t s p l a c e t a k e n , f o r the p e r s i s t e n t d e f a u l t e r who i s i n w o r k , by a power to a t t a c h wages on a c o n t i n u o u s b a s i s , n o t m e r e l y to c l e a r a r r e a r s . T h i s p r o s p e c t i v e e n f o r c e m e n t i s w e l l s u i t e d to the r e c u r r e n t n a t u r e o f p e r i o d i c a l payments b u t s h o u l d n o t be u s e d u n t i l i t i s c l e a r t h a t the p a y e r i s n o t a t t a c h i n g a s u f f i c i e n t l y h i g h p r i o r i t y to payment o f s u p p o r t and has f o r f e i t e d h i s r i g h t to r e c e i v e h i s wages i n t a c t . O t h e r w i s e , r e s p o n s i b l e payment i s n o t r e s p e c t e d and n e e d l e s s i n t e r v e n t i o n i s p r o m o t e d . 120 I t should be c l e a r that the p o s i t i o n advocated i s that enforcement of orders, no matter how swift and p e r s i s t e n t , i s no panacea for the problems faced by s i n g l e parent f a m i l i e s . Nevertheless, i t i s argued that there should be improvements to the procedure for recovering arrears, including an enhanced r o l e for the State which has a legitimate i n t e r e s t i n p r i v a t i s i n g support o b l i g a t i o n s . I t i s not accepted that enforcement i s a bureaucratic exercise from which the single parent family can derive no s i g n i f i c a n t b e n e f i t . Improved enforcement i s part of the s o l u t i o n but i t i s not enough i n i t s e l f . What are the consequences of such an approach to the enforcement of support obligations? That new domestic r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s should e n t i r e l y supplant those derived from former r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s not accepted but, i n pursuing a p o l i c y which involves the promotion of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of members of the former household amongst non-custodial parents, the r i s k of u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y impoverishing the payer's second household must be recognised. Bissett-Johnson ref e r s to the prospects for a second household whose resources are depleted by support payments but which i s not r e c e i v i n g payments due from the absent parent of c h i l d r e n l i v i n g i n 136 i t . The equilibrium posited by a system which asserts the primary o b l i g a t i o n of the natural parent i s quickly upset by such 137 non-compliance. The question which Chambers poses i s when w i l l the successive re-organisation of f a m i l i e s reach such a p i t c h that i t i s no longer appropriate, indeed merely a no s t a l g i c anachronism, f o r the State to seek to assert the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the b i o l o g i c a l parent. This point probably w i l l not be reached i f c l o s e r l i n k s between c h i l d r e n and absent parents are forged. I t i s nearer at hand i f Chambers' other 138 'plausible future' of steady disengagement between absent parents and 121 c h i l d r e n i s the one t h a t comes to p a s s . In s u c h a w o r l d , the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y does n o t m e r e l y c a s t o f f i t s image as p a r t o f the ' l i t t l e 139 c l u s t e r o f d e v i a n t s f rom the m a r i t a l norm' b u t becomes u s u a l , n o r m a l , n o t d e p r i v e d o r d i s a b l e d . I r o n i c a l l y , the a s s u m p t i o n o f a s t r o n g , i n d e p e n d e n t image may d i m i n i s h the s e n s e o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , w h e t h e r i n the a b s e n t p a r e n t o r s o c i e t y a t l a r g e , w h i c h has p a r t l y e n a b l e d the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y to become e n f r a n c h i s e d , and h e r a l d a n o t h e r downward s p i r a l . The b a s i c d a n g e r o f the p r o p o s e d endorsement o f an improved e n f o r c e m e n t s y s t e m i s t h a t i t may r e s u l t i n a r e - a r r a n g e m e n t o f h o u s e h o l d s i n p o v e r t y . H a r r i s , McDonald and W e s t o n , i n t h e i r i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f an a p p r o p r i a t e f o r m u l a f o r c a l c u l a t i n g c h i l d 140 s u p p o r t , g r a p h i c a l l y d e m o n s t r a t e how men w i t h a new d e p e n d e n t p a r t n e r who d o e s n o t r e c e i v e s u p p o r t f r o m a fo rmer p a r t n e r would be a f f e c t e d i n a d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y a d v e r s e manner by an o t h e r w i s e a p p a r e n t l y f a i r p r o c e d u r e . The p r o b l e m i s b e s t c o n s i d e r e d i n the c o n t e x t o f the c a l c u l a t i o n o f e n t i t l e m e n t s . I f the r e s u l t o f e n f o r c i n g an o r d e r i s to i m p o v e r i s h the p a y e r , i t i s an i n d i c a t i o n t h a t the o r d e r i s awry f o r the b a l a n c e between the p a r t i e s has been u p s e t . A n o t h e r p o s s i b l e c o n s e q u e n c e o f an improved e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e d u r e i s t h a t some n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s w i l l d i s a p p e a r r a t h e r than s t a y n e a r t h e i r f o r m e r h o u s e h o l d s where they w i l l be e a s i l y a c c e s s i b l e to the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s . T h i s abandonment may be more d e t r i m e n t a l to the c h i l d r e n i n the fo rmer h o u s e h o l d than the f a i l u r e to p a y . T h i s i s why an i n i t i a l l y a g g r e s s i v e a t t i t u d e towards d e f a u l t by the c o l l e c t i n g a g e n c y may be c o u n t e r - p r o d u c t i v e . A p o l i c y o f s e e k i n g the l e a s t p u n i t i v e manner o f d e a l i n g w i t h d e f a u l t w h i c h s t i l l h o l d s o u t the 122 p r o s p e c t o f e f f e c t i v e n e s s may e n a b l e a d d i t i o n a l money to be c o l l e c t e d and a v o i d a l i e n a t i o n o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . 123 Footnotes I. H.R. Hahlo, 'Child Support: a Global View' i n J . Casetty, ed, The Parental Child-Support Obligation (Lexington: Lexington Books 1983) p 195 at p 203. 2 * Sujjra, footnote 1 at pp 203-204. 3 * Supra, footnote 1 at p 205. 4. M. Takas, Child Support (Harper and Row 1985) p 15. 5. See M. H a r r i s , P. McDonald and R. Weston, 'Payment of Child Maintenance i n A u s t r a l i a ' (1987) 1 International Journal of  Law and the Family p 92 at p 110. 6. Supra, footnote 5 Part I I passim. 7* Supra, footnote 5 at p 110. 8. A. Sorenson and M. MacDonald, 'An Analysis of Child-Support Transfers' i n J . Casetty, ed, supra, footnote 1 at p 35. 9. Sorenson and MacDonald, supra, footnote 8 at p 37. 10. Sorenson and MacDonald, supra, footnote 8 at p 41. I I . Loc. c i t . . 12. Supra, footnote 8 at p 45. 13. Loc. c i t . . 1^* Supra, footnote 8 at p 42. 15. Sorenson and MacDonald, supra, footnote 8 at pp 55-56. 16. M. Maclean and J.M. Eekelaar, 'The F i n a n c i a l Consequences of Divorce: the Wrong Debate' i n M. Brenton and C. Ungerson, eds, The Year Book of So c i a l P o l i c y i n B r i t a i n 1985-6 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul 1986) p 42 at p 53. 17. H a r r i s , McDonald and Weston, supra, footnote 5 a t p 97. 18. D.L. Chambers, Making Fathers Pay (Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago 1979) p 245. 19. Chambers, supra, footnote 18 at p 245 comments that pr a c t i c e i n State courts regarding c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p r o h i b i t i o n s against j a i l i n g f o r debt i s almost uniform. 124 20. A. Wachtel and N. Burtch, Excuses (Vancouver: United Way of the Lower Mainland 1981). 21. Takas, supra, footnote 4 at p 8. 22. Supra, footnote 4 at p 148. 23. See In re Robinson (1884) 27 Ch D 160 and Sugden v Sugden [1957] P 120. Supra, footnote 16 at p 53. 25. Report of the Committee on One-Parent Families, Cmnd 5629 (London: HMSO 1974) (The Finer Report). 26. Supra, footnote 25, para 4.90. 27. Supra, footnote 25, paras 4.72-4.90. 28. Supra, footnote 25, para 4.87. 29. Supra, footnote 25, para 4.88. 30. See O.R. McGregor, L. Blom-Cooper and C. Gibson, Separated Spouses (London: Duckworth 1970). 31. McGregor, Blom-Cooper and Gibson, supra, footnote 30 at p 70. 32. Report of the Committee on Statutory Maintenance Limits, Cmnd 3587 (London: HMSO 1968). 3 3 • Supra, footnote 32, para 103. Supra, footnote 25. 35. See The Finer Report, supra, footnote 25, section 4.6 and McGregor, Blom-Cooper and Gibson, supra, footnote 31. 36. Supra, footnote 25, para 4.90. 37. The Canadian I n s t i t u t e f o r Research, Matrimonial Support F a i l u r e s (Edmonton: The I n s t i t u t e of Law Research and Reform 1981). 38. Supra, footnote 37 at p 21. 39. I b i d . . 40. I b i d . . 41. I b i d . . 42. Supra, footnote 37, Survey of Men, para 4.0. 125 43. I b i d . . 44. Sjapra, footnote 37 at p 22. 45. Supra, footnote 37, Survey of Men, para 13.14. 46. Supra, footnote 37, Survey of Men, para 13.15. 47. Supra, footnote 25, para 4.90. 48. Supra, footnote 37 a t p 16. 49. L . J . Weitzman, The Divorce Revolution (New York: Free Press 1985) at p 296. 50. See p 72 above. 51. M. Harrison and T. Tucker, 'Maintenance, Custody and Access' i n P. McDonald, ed, Settling; Ug (Sydney: Prentice H a l l 1986) at p 266. 52. Supra, footnote 51 at p 267. 53. The Canadian I n s t i t u t e for Research, supra, footnote 37 a t p 21. 54. Supra, footnote 37 a t p 22. 55. Supra, footnote 37, Survey of Men, para 13.16 and Survey of Women, para 13.2. 56. Harrison and Tucker, supra, footnote 51 at p 266. 57. The Canadian I n s t i t u t e f o r Research, supra, footnote 37, Survey of  Men, para 13.3. 5 8 * Supra, footnote 18 at p 128. 59. Harrison and Tucker, supra, footnote 51 at p 265. 60. Supra, footnote 37, Family Court Records Study, para 3.2.1. 61» Supra, footnote 18 at p 111. 62. Supra, footnote 18 at p 277. 63. Chambers, supra, footnote 18 at p 126. 64. K. Eckhardt, 'Social Change, Legal Controls and Child Support' (unpublished: 1965) but see Chambers, supra, footnote 18 at p 130. 6 5 . Supra, footnote 18 a t p 132. 66. Chambers, su_p_ra, footnote 18 at p 135. 126 67. Chambers, supra, footnote 18 at p 118. 68. Supra, footnote 18. 69. Of a l l the studies reviewed, only Maclean and Eekelaar, supra, footnote 16, so much as suggest that this i s not the case. 70. Chambers, supra, footnote 18 at p 245. 71. Law Reform Commission of Canada, The FamilyjQpujr t» Working Paper 1 (Ottawa: The Commission 1974) p 51. 7 2 . Supra, footnote 18 a t p 258. 73. jjuj_ra, footnote 18 at pp 258-9. Supra, footnote 18 at p 152. 75. This Report was produced by the F e d e r a l - P r o v i n c i a l Committee on Enforcement of Maintenance and Custody Orders i n Canada i n 1983. 76. F i n a l Report of the_ Committee on Enforcement of Maintenance Orders i n Canada (1983), see supra, footnote 75 a t p 12. 77. 1980 (N.B.), c. C-2.1. 78. Supra, footnote 18 at p 154. 7 9 . Supra, footnote 18 at p 267. 80. Supra, footnote 18 at p 260. 81* Supra, footnote 25, para 4.142. 82. House of Commons (U.K.) O f f i c i a l Report, 12th December 1957, column 1542, 83. Chambers, supra, footnote 18 at p 248. 84. Supra, footnote 18 at p 249. 85* Supra, footnote 25, para 4.169. 86. Chambers, supra, footnote 18 at p 249. 8 7 . Supra, footnote 18 at p 244. 88. Chambers, supra, footnote 18 at p 20. 8 9 • Supra, footnote 25, para 4.163. 90. The Finer Report, supra, footnote 25 at para 4.169. 9 1 * Supra, footnote 18 at pp 101-2. 127 92. This i s J.M. Eekelaar's argument i n connection with the Finer Committee's proposal to assess maintenance admi n i s t r a t i v e l y . See J.M. Eekelaar, 'Public Law and Priv a t e Rights: the Finer Proposals' (1976) Public Law 64 at p 72. 93. Weitzman, supra, footnote 49 a t p 263 . 94. See Takas, supra, footnote 4 at p x i i . 95. See Takas, supra, footnote 4 a t p 7 and Weitzman, supra, footnote 49 at p 307. 96. H. Jacob, 'The Changing Landscape of Family P o l i c y and Law' (1987/8) 21 Law and Society Review 743. 97. Jacob, supra, footnote 96 at p 747. 98. Takas, supra, footnote 4 at p 55. 99. B i l l C-48, 1986 c 5. 100. Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Act 1986 ('FOAEA') s 15. 101. FOAEA s 3. 102. FOAEA s 4. 103. FOAEA s 13. 104. FOAEA ss 7-12. 105. F.M. S t e e l , 'Maintenance Enforcement i n Canada' (1986) 50 RFL (2d) 182 at p 210. 106. Supra, footnote 25, para 4.156. 107. Loc. c i t • 108. Harrison and Tucker, supra, footnote 51 at p 266. 109. Supra, footnote 105 a t p 198. 110. Supra, footnote 76 a t p 7. 111. Supjra, footnote 105 at pp 210-5. 112. Supra, footnote 18. 113. In 1970, 74% of maintenance orders i n the UK were diverted. See TJl e - r X i - n A r -J* eP° rf» supra, footnote 25, Table 4.12. 114. A. Bissett-Johnson, 'The Maintenance Jungle' i n Cassetty, ed, supra, footnote 1 at p 210. 128 115. See St e e l , supra, footnote 105 at pp 210-5. 116. Supra, footnote 105 at p 214. 117. Supjra, footnote 105 at p 200. 118. Supra, footnote 76 at p 9. 119. See C. Cockburn and H. Heclo, 'Income Maintenance for One-Parent Families i n Other Countries', Appendix 3 to The Finer Report, supra, footnote 25, paras 131-144. 120. Supra, footnote 119, para 137. 121. Loc. c i t . . 122. S.O. 1985, c 6. 123. (1988) 11 RFL (3d) 220. 124. S.C. 1986, c 4. 125. Doyle LJSC i n Costello v Somers, supra, footnote 123 a t p 220. 126. (1988) 11 RFL (3d) 58. 127. (1988) 11 RFL (3d) 89. 128. Supra, footnote 127 a t p 91. 129. (1989) 17 RFL (3d) 53. 130. Supra, footnote 129 at p 57. 131. J.G. McLeod, annotation of Director of Support v Couling, supra, footnote 129 at p 53. 132. Supra, footnote 18 at pp 247-9. 133. c f 'Child Support Report', published by the O f f i c e of Child Support Enforcement i n the U.S.A., which p e r i o d i c a l l y gives league tables of recovery by d i f f e r e n t s t a t e s . One danger i s that orders from other states w i l l receive a low p r i o r i t i s a t i o n because the p a r t i c u l a r o f f i c e w i l l receive no c r e d i t f o r the enforcement of the 'foreign' order. 134. R.S.B.C. 1979, c 121. 135. Supra, footnote 4 at p 21. 136. Supra, footnote 114 at p 220. 129 137. D.L. Chambers, 'The Coming Curtailment of Compulsory Child Support' (1982) 80 Michigan Law Review 1,614. 138. Supra, footnote 137 at p 1,626. 139. The Finer Report, supra, footnote 25, para 2.4. 140. Supra, footnote 5 at p 119 et seq.. 130 CHAPTER 5 LIMITING THE IMPACT OF JUDICIAL DISCRETION I n the p r e v i o u s c h a p t e r , i t was a r g u e d t h a t the f i n a n c i a l p rob lems o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s would n o t be s o l v e d m e r e l y by p u t t i n g i n p l a c e a s y s t e m d e s i g n e d to e n s u r e prompt and f u l l payment o f m a i n t e n a n c e o r d e r s . The r e a s o n s p u t fo rward were t h a t s u c h a mechanism does n o t h i n g f o r t h o s e who a r e p o t e n t i a l l y e l i g i b l e f o r an o r d e r b u t have n o t s e c u r e d one and t h a t the S t a t e has a m a t e r i a l I n t e r e s t i n s e c u r i n g c o m p l i a n c e w i t h o r d e r s w h i c h i s n o t n e c e s s a r i l y c o n n e c t e d w i t h f u r t h e r i n g the w e l f a r e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . Due to the a v a i l a b i l i t y o f f i n a n c i a l a s s i s t a n c e f rom the S t a t e , the s i n g l e p a r e n t may have no f i n a n c i a l i n t e r e s t i n e n f o r c i n g the o r d e r . Whether i t i s p a i d o r n o t , the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s income rema ins the same b e c a u s e the m a i n t e n a n c e payment and the s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e payment a r e s e t o f f a g a i n s t e a c h o t h e r . S o m e t i m e s , as i n the U . S . A . , t h e r e i s a d i s r e g a r d : a r e c i p i e n t may keep the f i r s t $50 o f c h i l d s u p p o r t , r e g a r d l e s s o f the recoupment p r o v i s i o n s . * To d e v e l o p the argument f u r t h e r , i t c a n be s a i d t h a t e n f o r c e m e n t o f o r d e r s can n e v e r p r o v i d e a s o l u t i o n u n t i l e a r l i e r s t e p s i n the p r o c e s s o f s e c u r i n g a t r a n s f e r o f r e s o u r c e s a r e r e f o r m e d . I n p a r t i c u l a r , the o r d e r i t s e l f may be i n a d e q u a t e f o r the p u r p o s e w h i c h i t i s supposed to f u l f i l and s i m i l a r l y s i t u a t e d i n d i v i d u a l s may be t r e a t e d q u i t e d i f f e r e n t l y w i t h r e s p e c t to the amount they a r e due to r e c e i v e . The p r o p o s i t i o n w h i c h w i l l be i n v e s t i g a t e d i n t h i s c h a p t e r i s t h a t r e p l a c e m e n t o f the d i s c r e t i o n a r y s y s t e m o f j u d i c i a l a d j u d i c a t i o n i s 131 e s s e n t i a l i f the a l l e g e d i n a d e q u a c y i n the amount o f o r d e r s and the i n c o n s i s t e n c y o f t r e a t m e n t o f s i m i l a r l y s i t u a t e d i n d i v i d u a l s a r e to be o v e r c o m e . W i t h o u t s u c h measures the p r e s e n t s y s t e m w i l l e n s u r e the c o n t i n u e d economic d i s a d v a n t a g e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s , no m a t t e r how h i g h a p r o p o r t i o n o b t a i n o r d e r s and no m a t t e r how e f f i c i e n t and u n r e l e n t i n g the e n f o r c e m e n t p r o c e s s . Would the e r a d i c a t i o n o f j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n be a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d t a s k ? P r o b l e m s o f c o - o r d i n a t i n g a s y s t e m o f f i x e d s t a n d a r d s f o r c a l c u l a t i n g c h i l d s u p p o r t and p e r h a p s s p o u s a l s u p p o r t w i t h a s y s t e m o f d i s c r e t i o n a r y a d j u d i c a t i o n i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h p r o p e r t y and c a p i t a l r e s o u r c e s a r e i d e n t i f i e d i n s e c t i o n f o u r o f t h i s c h a p t e r . S u c h prob lems would n o t o n l y be a d m i n i s t r a t i v e i n c h a r a c t e r . T h e r e a r e m a t t e r s o f p r i n c i p l e s u c h as the e x t e n t to w h i c h a generous c a p i t a l s e t t l e m e n t s h o u l d moderate the e f f e c t o f g u i d e l i n e s f o r s p o u s a l o r c h i l d s u p p o r t , and w h e t h e r c o u r t s s h o u l d be empowered to r a t i f y n e g o t i a t e d s e t t l e m e n t s w h i c h embody a l e s s generous t r a n s f e r o f income than would have been the c a s e had r i g i d g u i d e l i n e s been a p p l i e d . A n o t h e r i s s u e i s whether the r e p l a c e m e n t o f j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n s h o u l d be a p p r o a c h e d d i f f e r e n t l y i n the a r e a s o f c h i l d s u p p o r t and s p o u s a l s u p p o r t . P r o b l e m s o f c o - o r d i n a t i o n between o t h e r a r e a s o f the c o u r t ' s f i n a n c i a l j u r i s d i c t i o n and g u i d e l i n e s f o r c a l c u l a t i n g s u p p o r t may w e l l be more a c u t e where s p o u s a l s u p p o r t i s c o n c e r n e d . T h i s i s b e c a u s e o f the need to s t r i k e a b a l a n c e between a s p o u s e ' s c a p i t a l s e t t l e m e n t and s u p p o r t a w a r d . C h i l d s u p p o r t may be r e g a r d e d , p r o b a b l y w r o n g l y , as a n a d j u n c t to the s e t t l e m e n t between the s p o u s e s r a t h e r than an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f i t , and as a c o n s e q u e n c e i t i s a more p r o m i s i n g c a n d i d a t e f o r s e p a r a t e t r e a t m e n t t h a n s p o u s a l s u p p o r t . 132 C h i l d s u p p o r t i s a l s o l e s s hemmed i n by d o c t r i n a l c o n t r o v e r s y than s p o u s a l s u p p o r t . I t remains g e n e r a l l y a c c e p t e d t h a t p a r e n t s s h o u l d s h a r e t h e i r f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e s w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n , even when the c h i l d r e n have c e a s e d to be i n a p a r t i c u l a r p a r e n t ' s c u s t o d y . The i d e a o f a l i f e - l o n g d u t y o f s u p p o r t between spouses i s no l o n g e r so w i d e l y h e l d . N e v e r t h e l e s s , o n c e p o l i c y - m a k e r s have f i x e d upon a dominan t j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r s p o u s a l s u p p o r t , whether i t be to t i d e one spouse o v e r the d i f f i c u l t p e r i o d a f t e r s e p a r a t i o n o r to compensate f o r economic o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r e g o n e , t h e r e i s no r e a s o n why q u a n t i t a t i v e g u i d e l i n e s c o u l d n o t be e s t a b l i s h e d . T h e r e f o r e , many o f the i s s u e s examined i n t h i s c h a p t e r a p p l y e q u a l l y to s p o u s a l s u p p o r t and c h i l d s u p p o r t . Examples drawn f r o m N o r t h A m e r i c a , and more modern e x a m p l e s , tend to u s e c h i l d s u p p o r t a s a model whereas those drawn f rom B r i t a i n f o c u s on s p o u s a l s u p p o r t . In b l u r r i n g the d i s t i n c t i o n somewhat, i t must a l s o be b o r n e i n mind t h a t o n l y s i n g l e p a r e n t s who a r e s e p a r a t e d ( w h i l e r e m a i n i n g m a r r i e d ) o r d i v o r c e d a r e e l i g i b l e f o r s p o u s a l s u p p o r t whereas c h i l d s u p p o r t can be c l a i m e d by a l l s i n g l e p a r e n t s e x c e p t w idows . I w i l l c o n s i d e r f i r s t o f a l l what i s known o f the methods o f a s s e s s m e n t p r e s e n t l y employed by a d j u d i c a t o r s and whether t h e i r methods a r e r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the a l l e g e d i n a d e q u a c y o f o r d e r s . 1 . P r e s e n t Methods o f A s s e s s m e n t I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to draw a t t e n t i o n a t the o u t s e t to the r e l a t i v e i m p o r t a n c e w h i c h has been a t t r i b u t e d to the d i s s o l u t i o n o f m a r r i a g e compared w i t h the f i n a n c i a l c o n s e q u e n c e s o f d i s s o l u t i o n i n the h i s t o r i c a l c o n t e x t . B a r t r i p a n a l y s e s t h i s q u e s t i o n w i t h r e f e r e n c e to 133 the d e v o l u t i o n o f powers f rom the judges o f the C o u r t f o r D i v o r c e and 2 M a t r i m o n i a l Causes to t h e i r r e g i s t r a r s i n n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y E n g l a n d . 3 He r e c o g n i s e s t h a t p r e s s u r e o f work e x p l a i n s the need f o r d e l e g a t i o n b u t the o r d e r i n w h i c h j u r i s d i c t i o n s were d e v o l v e d i n d i c a t e s t h e i r r e l a t i v e i m p o r t a n c e , f o r the judges would tend to r e t a i n powers c o n s i d e r e d more i m p o r t a n t f o r as l o n g as p o s s i b l e . I n 1865, the r e g i s t r a r s were i n s t r u c t e d to i n v e s t i g a t e p l e a d i n g s i n m a t t e r s i n v o l v i n g ma in tenance and m a r r i a g e s e t t l e m e n t s and to r e p o r t 4 t h e i r f i n d i n g s to the j u d g e . By 1875, the l e v e l o f p e t i t i o n i n g had r e a c h e d s u c h a l e v e l t h a t the r e g i s t r a r s were empowered i n a l i m o n y , as d i s t i n c t f r o m m a i n t e n a n c e , p r o c e e d i n g s to ' d i r e c t s u c h o r d e r to i s s u e a s [ they ] s h a l l t h i n k f i t ' . 5 S i m i l a r powers w i t h r e s p e c t to m a i n t e n a n c e were i n t r o d u c e d i n 1 9 2 4 . 6 The i m p a c t o f these changes was l i m i t e d by the c e n t r a l i s a t i o n o f d i v o r c e p r o c e d u r e i n L o n d o n . I t was n o t u n t i l 1926 t h a t even a p e t i t i o n under the s o - c a l l e d P o o r P e r s o n s ' P r o c e d u r e f o r l i t i g a n t s o f l i m i t e d means c o u l d be d e a l t w i t h i n a p r o v i n c i a l d i s t r i c t r e g i s t r y . 7 From t h a t d a t e o n w a r d s , d e c e n t r a l i s a t i o n p r o c e e d e d i n s t e p w i t h the i n c r e a s i n g i m p o r t a n c e o f the r o l e o f c o u r t r e g i s t r a r , g i n and o u t o f L o n d o n . The i n t e r e s t o f B a r t r i p ' s h i s t o r i c a l a n a l y s i s o f the j u r i s d i c t i o n o f the E n g l i s h r e g i s t r a r f o r p r e s e n t p u r p o s e s l i e s i n the f a c t t h a t the q u e s t i o n o f the d i s s o l u t i o n o f the m a r r i a g e was r e t a i n e d by the 9 j u d g e s . E v e n w i t h the adven t o f the s p e c i a l p r o c e d u r e f o r undefended p e t i t i o n s i n 1977, the d e c r e e n i s i i s s t i l l p ronounced i n open c o u r t by the j u d g e , a l t h o u g h i t i s the r e g i s t r a r who has c o n d u c t e d the i n v e s t i g a t i o n , s u c h as i t i s , i n t o the f a c t s a l l e g e d and c e r t i f i e d the p e t i t i o n e r ' s e n t i t l e m e n t to a d e c r e e . * 0 The j u d g e ' s o t h e r f u n c t i o n i s 134 to inquire into the arrangments which the parties have made for the ch i l d r e n . * * On this basis i t can be argued, though not very convincingly, that the d i s s o l u t i o n of marriage and the welfare of the ch i l d r e n are the highest p r i o r i t i e s i n the matrimonial proceeding, whereas f i n a n c i a l matters occupy an a n c i l l a r y p o s i t i o n or, to use the 12 terminology of the Canadian Divorce Act 1985, are a c o r o l l a r y of the divorce proceeding. B a r t r i p makes i t clear that the r e g i s t r a r has not acquired such an important matrimonial j u r i s d i c t i o n by any far-sighted design but rather as a r e s u l t of the power of the President of the court to make rules for the purpose of arranging the business of the court and 13 the d i c t a t e s of pressure of work. During the course of this delegation of functions to the r e g i s t r a r s , there are occasional instances of qualms about the competence of r e g i s t r a r s to deal adequately with th e i r a d d i t i o n a l 14 r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . B a r t r i p r e f e r s to the Denning Committee on Procedure i n Matrimonial Causes which, i n i t s F i n a l Report, *"* recommended that r e g i s t r a r s should not decide a n c i l l a r y r e l i e f matters, yet three months e a r l i e r , i n November 1946, i n i t s Second Interim Report, i t had given the r e g i s t r a r s a vote of confidence.*^ B a r t r i p suggests the change of heart arose from an appreciation of the gravity of the work undertaken by the r e g i s t r a r s . * 7 Whatever the truth of t h i s , the j u r i s d i c t i o n was not taken away from them and i t i s the i r decisions which dispose of the vast majority of contested f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f matters i n England today. Therefore, i f the proposition i s that the f i n a n c i a l d i f f i c u l t i e s of singl e parent f a m i l i e s are a t t r i b u t a b l e to e r r a t i c and i l l - i n f o r m e d decisions at the adjudication stage, i t i s important to examine the 135 p r o c e d u r e o f those a d j u d i c a t i n g a t f i r s t i n s t a n c e . E . W . Cooey r e c o g n i s e s t h i s i n h i s e s s a y ' T h e E x e r c i s e o f J u d i c i a l D i s c r e t i o n i n the 18 Award o f A l i m o n y ' b u t remarks t h a t ' t h e r e c o r d s o f the t r i a l c o u r t s a r e a l m o s t i n a c c e s s i b l e f o r s t u d y , and t h i s n e c e s s i t a t e s the p r e s e n t 19 a p p r o a c h ' w h i c h i s to c o n s i d e r a p p e l l a t e d e c i s i o n s d u r i n g the p r e v i o u s y e a r , the o p p o s i t e end o f the j u d i c i a l s p e c t r u m . S i n c e 1939, when Duke 20 U n i v e r s i t y i n the USA p u b l i s h e d i t s symposium on a l i m o n y o f w h i c h C o o e y ' s e s s a y forms a p a r t , i t has become p o s s i b l e f o r r e s e a r c h e r s to g a i n a c c e s s to r e c o r d s a t the t r i a l l e v e l and to c o n s i d e r the methods o f p a r t i c u l a r d e c i s i o n - m a k e r s . I t i s p r o p o s e d to r e v i e w t h r e e s u c h s t u d i e s w i t h a v i e w to i d e n t i f y i n g d e f i c i e n c i e s i n the p r o c e s s o f a d j u d i c a t i o n . 21 i The O x f o r d S t u d y o f R e g i s t r a r s T h i s took p l a c e i n 1973 and was based on i n t e r v i e w s w i t h 81 o f the 142 r e g i s t r a r s i n E n g l a n d and W a l e s . T h e s e i n t e r v i e w s were n o t f o r m a l and s t a n d a r d i s e d a l o n g the l i n e s o f most l a r g e - s c a l e s u r v e y s and market r e s e a r c h , b u t t h e y were d e s i g n e d to e n a b l e the r e g i s t r a r s f r e e l y to e x p r e s s t h e i r v iews about a l l a s p e c t s o f t h e i r m a t r i m o n i a l j u r i s d i c t i o n and to p e r m i t i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f o p i n i o n s r a i s e d by the r e s p o n d e n t s w h i c h a s t r i c t l y c i r c u m s c r i b e d s c h e d u l e o f q u e s t i o n i n g would have r u l e d o u t . A l t h o u g h the r e s e a r c h e r s knew w h i c h b r o a d a r e a s o f the r e g i s t r a r s ' work they w ished to d i s c u s s , i t was a c o n s e q u e n c e o f the d e s i g n o f the s u r v e y t h a t , when r e s u l t s were t a b u l a t e d , some i n d i c a t i o n s were more s i g n i f i c a n t than o t h e r s s i m p l y b e c a u s e o f the v a r y i n g numbers o f r e s p o n d e n t s who had d e a l t w i t h the p a r t i c u l a r p o i n t . What c o n c l u s i o n s were drawn a b o u t how the d e c i s i o n i n a p a r t i c u l a r f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f m a t t e r i s a r r i v e d a t ? F o r one r e g i s t r a r i t was v e r y much a m a t t e r o f d o i n g the b e s t he c o u l d and o f 'what one f e e l s r a t h e r 136 22 than a c o m p u t e r i s e d d e c i s i o n ' . F o r a n o t h e r , more m e t a p h o r i c a l l y , c o n s i d e r i n g the l i s t o f f a c t o r s i n s 25 o f the M a t r i m o n i a l Causes A c t 1973 ' i s r a t h e r l i k e s w i n g i n g a g o l f c l u b - t h e r e a r e so many 23 c o n s i d e r a t i o n s to c o n s i d e r s i m u l t a n e o u s l y ' . T h e s e a r e f r a n k a d m i s s i o n s o f the l i m i t a t i o n s o f the a d j u d i c a t o r when f a c e d w i t h a w i d e - r a n g i n g l i s t o f r e l e v a n t c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . The f a c t o r s a r e e a c h to be r e v i e w e d and p r i o r i t i s e d i n the l i g h t o f the f a c t s o f the p a r t i c u l a r c a s e and an i n t e g r a t e d v i e w o f the whole s i t u a t i o n a r r i v e d a t . I t i s r e a d i l y conceded t h a t t h i s i s a t a x i n g e x e r c i s e and one made more complex by the s t a t u t o r y d u t y , as i t was a t the t ime o f t h i s s u r v e y , to e x e r c i s e the d i s c r e t i o n so as ' t o p l a c e the p a r t i e s , so f a r as i s p r a c t i c a b l e a n d , h a v i n g r e g a r d to t h e i r c o n d u c t , j u s t to do s o , i n the f i n a n c i a l p o s i t i o n i n w h i c h they would have been i f the m a r r i a g e had n o t 24 b r o k e n d o w n ' . I t i s h a r d l y s u r p r i s i n g t h a t , r a t h e r than d i s s e c t i n g the g u i d e l i n e s , i t was found t h a t the r e g i s t r a r s sought to take an 25 o v e r a l l v i e w o f the s i t u a t i o n s w i t h w h i c h they were f a c e d . In the c o n t e x t o f s u c h a broad d i s c r e t i o n , has a r i t h m e t i c any p l a c e ? Is a r i t h m e t i c too i n c o n g r u o u s l y m e c h a n i c a l to a s s i s t i n the e x e r c i s e o f a d i s c r e t i o n a r y j u r i s d i c t i o n ? In the e c c l e s i a s t i c a l c o u r t s , a p r a c t i c e had a r i s e n o f f i x i n g a l i m o n y a t the r a t e o f one t h i r d o f the h u s b a n d ' s i n c o m e , o r i f the w i f e a l s o had r e s o u r c e s , a t one t h i r d o f t h e i r j o i n t i n c o m e s . I f the h u s b a n d ' s p r o p e r t y was s u b s t a n t i a l l y 26 d e r i v e d f rom h i s w i f e , more c o u l d be awarded . T h i s g u i d e l i n e was adopted by the j u d i c i a r y i n the s e c u l a r c o u r t s when m a t r i m o n i a l j u r i s d i c t i o n was t r a n s f e r r e d a n d , though B r o m l e y and Lowe a r e c o r r e c t to 27 r e g a r d i t s h i s t o r y as ' c h e q u e r e d ' , i t r e c e i v e s p e r i o d i c l e a s e s o f 28 l i f e . I n h i s judgement i n W a c h t e l v W a c h t e l , L o r d D e n n i n g MR. was 137 p r e p a r e d to s t a r t h i s c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f the r e l e v a n t f a c t o r s by u s i n g the one t h i r d c a l c u l a t i o n f o r d e a l i n g w i t h income and c a p i t a l . He j u s t i f i e d t h i s by a d u b i o u s argument t h a t the fo rmer h u s b a n d ' s e x p e n s e s were bound to be g r e a t e r than the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s bu t went on to emphas ise t h a t : ' I t i s o n l y a s t a r t i n g p o i n t . I t w i l l s e r v e i n c a s e s where the m a r r i a g e has l a s t e d f o r many y e a r s and the w i f e has been i n the home b r i n g i n g up the c h i l d r e n . I t may n o t be a p p l i c a b l e when the m a r r i a g e has l a s t e d o n l y a s h o r t t ime o r where t h e r e a r e no c h i l d r e n and she c a n go o u t to w o r k . ' 29 T h e r e f o l l o w e d a p e r i o d d u r i n g w h i c h the l i m i t a t i o n s o f the s i m p l e 30 a r i t h m e t i c a l a p p r o a c h were e x p o s e d . I n Cann v C a n n , the f o r m e r husband a p p l i e d to r e d u c e to a n o m i n a l amount an o r d e r o f £ 7 p e r week f o r h i s f o r m e r w i f e on the b a s i s t h a t t h a t wou ld be the r e s u l t o f the one t h i r d a p p r o a c h . The fo rmer husband had some s a v i n g s b u t b o t h p a r t i e s r e l i e d on t h e i r s t a t e o l d age p e n s i o n s f o r i n c o m e . H o l l i n g s J . and B a k e r P . were agreed t h a t i n a c a s e o f v e r y l i m i t e d r e s o u r c e s the one t h i r d a p p r o a c h was u n h e l p f u l i n d e t e r m i n i n g how to e x e r c i s e the d i s c r e t i o n . I n s t e a d , a b road v iew was taken o f the p a r t i e s ' needs and the p a r t i e s ' incomes v i r t u a l l y e q u a l i s e d , the f o r m e r husband b e i n g r e q u i r e d to u s e some o f h i s s a v i n g s to c o v e r h i s e x p e n s e s . 31 F o r c a s e s a t the w e a l t h y end o f the s p e c t r u m , P o t t e r v P o t t e r marks the n a d i r o f the one t h i r d a p p r o a c h . T h i s was an a p p e a l a g a i n s t the award o f a lump sum o f £ 2 3 , 9 0 0 to the f o r m e r w i f e . The t r i a l judge had a r r i v e d a t t h i s f i g u r e by d i v i d i n g the j o i n t c a p i t a l by t h r e e , d e d u c t i n g the f o r m e r w i f e ' s c a p i t a l and d i s c o u n t i n g to a l l o w f o r the s h o r t n e s s o f the m a r r i a g e . Ormrod L J . h e l d t h a t t h i s was n o t a p r o p e r e x e r c i s e o f the d i s c r e t i o n , p r i n c i p a l l y b e c a u s e o f the d i f f i c u l t y i n v a l u i n g the c a p i t a l a s s e t s i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r c a s e though he s u g g e s t s t h a t the s p e c u l a t i v e n a t u r e o f v a l u a t i o n i s a lways to be b o r n e i n 138 32 mind. Dunn L J . took a s i m i l a r l i n e , s t a t i n g that the Court of Appeal 'has said over and over again that i n cases involving the r e d i s t r i b u t i o n 33 of c a p i t a l , the one-third approach i s not appropriate'. However, i n 34 Bullock v Bullock i n 1985, a d i f f e r e n t l y constituted Court of Appeal was prepared to endorse a t r i a l judge who had adopted the one-third approach to c a p i t a l , though i n this case the valuations were more 35 cer t a i n and, as Douglas points out i n her annotation, the same r e s u l t may well have been achieved without reference to the one-third 36 guideline. In 1986, Anthony Lin c o l n J . i n Dew v Dew was prepared to use the one-third approach 'as a st a r t i n g - p o i n t from which one could 37 take a bearing i n one's journey through the provisions of s 25' of the Matrimonial Causes Act i n determining an appropriate lump sum in the case of a wealthy couple. To return from the appellate courts to the j u r i s d i c t i o n of the r e g i s t r a r s , i s an arithmetical approach used as a st a r t i n g - p o i n t and a guideline or i s i t r e a l l y a useful means of circumventing the onerous exercise prescribed by s 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act? Is i t a short-cut remote from the requirements of the Act? I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that one of the r e g i s t r a r s , whose approach was always to deal with c h i l d maintenance f i r s t i n any f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f a p p l i c a t i o n , f e l t that 'the one-third r u l e i s something devised by judges a l i t t l e b i t remote 38 from the r e a l i t i e s of l i f e ' . Although aware of i t s l i m i t a t i o n s i n 39 connection with very low and very high income cases, i t was found that only ten out of 77 r e g i s t r a r s do not usually refer to the one-third 40 approach or never use i t . Whether or not i t a s s i s t s as a s t a r t i n g point, what evidence i s there that i t serves as a f i n i s h i n g point, as a check on the f i n a l order? That one-third p e r s i s t s as the relevant 139 f r a c t i o n i s a demonstration of the tenacity of l e g a l t r a d i t i o n rather than of the appropriateness of one third over other f r a c t i o n s . The flimsiness of i t s economic basis i s clear from Lord Denning's judgement 41 i n Wachtel, in which he speaks of the former husband's need for a housekeeper as the r a t i o n a l e for his needing the l i o n ' s share of the j o i n t income. I t i s this quaintness which has given momentum to the use of the one-third approach well into the 1980's despite recurring doubts about i t s appropriateness i n various categories of case. The conclusion to be drawn i s that i f the guideline i s widely used, a l b e i t with varying degrees of conviction, there should be a more serious modern examination 42 of i t s t h e o r e t i c a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n . In Sjansqm v Sansqm, Simon P. had r a t i o n a l i s e d i t by pointing out that: ' i n a t y p i c a l case the court was concerned with three groups of needs - those of the wife, those of the husband and those of the c h i l d r e n for whose support the husband was l i a b l e . ' 43 This quotation exemplifies the lack of s o p h i s t i c a t i o n of this guideline. No reason i s given for thinking the three groups of needs w i l l require equal resources. The researchers also examined the r e g i s t r a r s ' responses to p a r t i c u l a r problems i n connection with the evaluation of c r i t e r i a and, although differences i n attitude were i d e n t i f i a b l e , they conclude that, i n the vast majority of cases, the r e g i s t r a r s ' room to manoeuvre i s so li m i t e d given the available resources that these differences w i l l r a r e l y 44 become e x p l i c i t . One area i n which divergent opinions were apparent was that of the weight to be given to the e l i g i b i l i t y for s o c i a l assistance payments of the r e c i p i e n t of the order. Despite a d i r e c t i o n 45 from the Court of Appeal i n Barnes v Barnes that s o c i a l assistance i s to be taken into account only when the proposed order would depress the 140 p a y e r ' s r e s o u r c e s be low the l i m i t o f e l i g i b i l i t y f o r s o c i a l 46 a s s i s t a n c e , twenty s e v e n o f the s i x t y f o u r r e g i s t r a r s wou ld c o n s i d e r i t r e l e v a n t t h a t the b e n e f i c i a r y o f the o r d e r was r e c e i v i n g s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e . ^ 7 P r a c t i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s r e q u i r e d them to do s o . Some were a s t u t e enough to r e c o g n i s e e x p l i c i t l y how i n v o l v e d p u b l i c and p r i v a t e m a i n t e n a n c e had become. T h e s e r e g i s t r a r s were w i l l i n g to make o r d e r s a l i t t l e l o w e r than they might o t h e r w i s e have done i n o r d e r to e n a b l e the r e c i p i e n t o f the o r d e r to take a d v a n t a g e o f the p r o c e d u r e whereby the m a i n t e n a c e payments a r e d i v e r t e d to the S t a t e , w h i c h makes a f u l l b e n e f i t payment to the s i n g l e p a r e n t . They r e c o g n i s e d the v a l u e o f the s e c u r i t y o f r e g u l a r payment . O t h e r s f e l t t h a t p l a n n i n g o r d e r s w i t h a v i e w to mak ing u s e o f s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e was an i m p o s i t i o n on the S t a t e and wrong i n p r i n c i p l e . ^ A n o t h e r s p e c i a l p r o b l e m i s how to c a l c u l a t e the amount o f income w h i c h a w a g e - e a r n e r has a v a i l a b l e f o r s u p p o r t p a y m e n t s . The C o u r t o f A p p e a l ' s v iew i s t h a t g r o s s f i g u r e s s h o u l d be used i n any 49 c a l c u l a t i o n s . One r e g i s t r a r r e g a r d e d t h i s as ' q u i t e u n r e a l i s t i c ' and c o n c e r n e d h i m s e l f ' w i t h what a man has go t i n h i s h a n d ' . " ^ F o r the 40 o u t o f 66 r e g i s t r a r s who e i t h e r work e x c l u s i v e l y w i t h n e t income o r c o n s i d e r i t i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h g r o s s i n c o m e , t h e r e i s the a d d i t i o n a l q u e s t i o n o f what d e d u c t i o n s to make f rom g r o s s income i n o r d e r to a r r i v e a t a n e t f i g u r e r e p r e s e n t i n g income a v a i l a b l e f o r the members o f the fo rmer h o u s e h o l d . What w i l l be r e g a r d e d as an e s s e n t i a l d e d u c t i o n ? The q u e s t i o n i s r h e t o r i c a l , f o r i t i s p l a i n t h a t r e g i s t r a r s have s i g n i f i c a n t l a t i t u d e w i t h r e s p e c t to the method o f a r r i v i n g a t b a s i c f a c t s , s u c h as i n c o m e , w h i c h a r e i n t e g r a l to the e x e r c i s e o f t h e i r d i s c r e t i o n . 141 A t h i r d p a r t i c u l a r p r o b l e m f o r the r e g i s t r a r s i n e v a l u a t i n g c r i t e r i a i s t h a t o f c o n d u c t . In W a c h t e l v Wachtel_, L o r d D e n n i n g MR. had propounded the t e s t o f g r o s s n e s s and o b v i o u s n e s s f o r d e t e r m i n i n g whether c o n d u c t was r e l e v a n t . 5 * N e v e r t h e l e s s , the r e s e a r c h e r s found t h a t 32% o f the r e g i s t r a r s were s t i l l t a k i n g c o n d u c t i n t o a c c o u n t i n l e s s s e r i o u s 52 c a s e s . Though t h i s a p p r o a c h i s d o c t r i n a l l y i n c o r r e c t , the r e g i s t r a r s s a i d t h a t i t was d i f f i c u l t to d i s m i s s c o n d u c t e n t i r e l y f rom the m i n d , e s p e c i a l l y i f i t i s i n the f o r e f r o n t o f the p a r t i e s ' c o n s i d e r a t i o n s and i s g e n e r a l l y c o n s i d e r e d r e l e v a n t i n the community where the r e g i s t r a r a d j u d i c a t e s A number o f c o n c l u s i o n s can be drawn f rom the f i n d i n g s o f t h i s s t u d y . T h e r e a r e s i g n i f i c a n t v a r i a t i o n s i n p r a c t i c e between r e g i s t r a r s , who a r e the t r i a l a d j u d i c a t o r s i n the v a s t m a j o r i t y o f c o n t e s t e d a n c i l l a r y r e l i e f a p p l i c a t i o n s . T h e s e v a r i a t i o n s w i l l i n f l u e n c e not o n l y o r d e r s made a f t e r c o n t e s t e d h e a r i n g s b u t a l s o o r d e r s p u r s u a n t to n e g o t i a t e d s e t t l e m e n t s w h i c h a r e s u b m i t t e d to the r e g i s t r a r f o r a p p r o v a l . I t c a n be h y p o t h e s i s e d t h a t i t i s as i m p o r t a n t to be aware o f the i d i o s y n c r a s i e s o f the l o c a l r e g i s t r a r as i t i s t o know about the C o u r t o f A p p e a l ' s a p p r o a c h to the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f the p a r t i c u l a r g u i d e l i n e s , f o r t h i s r e s e a r c h d i s c l o s e s t h a t the C o u r t o f A p p e a l ' s v iews a r e n o t s l a v i s h l y adhered to i n any e v e n t . The f i n a l comment i s to e n d o r s e one o f the r e s e a r c h e r s ' 54 c o n c l u s i o n s . T h i s i s t h a t , e v e n i f the d i f f e r e n c e s i n the r e g i s t r a r s ' a p p r o a c h e s o n l y r a r e l y l e a d to s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s i n the ou tcome, t h e r e i s no r e a s o n why g u i d a n c e on m a t t e r s s u c h as the r e l e v a n c e o f r e c e i p t o f s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e and the method o f c a l c u l a t i n g a v a i l a b l e income s h o u l d n o t be s e t o u t i n the s t a t u t e . D i f f e r e n c e s o f o p i n i o n on 142 t h e s e two m a t t e r s a l o n e were f u n d a m e n t a l , n o t t e c h n i c a l o r p e r i p h e r a l . I t i s i r o n i c t h a t f i f t e e n y e a r s a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n o f the F i n e r R e p o r t , 5 5 w h i c h so c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i e d the c o n s e q u e n c e s o f the c o - e x i s t e n c e o f p u b l i c and p r i v a t e d u t i e s to m a i n t a i n , E n g l i s h l e g a l p e r i o d i c a l s a r e s t i l l p u b l i s h i n g a r t i c l e s d i s c u s s i n g w h e t h e r s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e i s a r e l e v a n t f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e o f the a p p l i c a n t f o r f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f . 5 6 I t c a n a l s o be a rgued t h a t even m i n o r d i f f e r e n c e s i n outcome due to v a r y i n g a p p r o a c h e s to the p r o b l e m o f a s s e s s m e n t a r e s i g n i f i c a n t b e c a u s e o f the s m a l l means o f the p a r t i e s i n v o l v e d . ' T h e s m a l l e r the l o a f , the more m e t i c u l o u s the d i v i s i o n needs to b e . ' 5 7 58 F u r t h e r a s p e c t s o f the r e s e a c h o f B a r r i n g t o n B a k e r e t a l l e a d to the q u e s t i o n whether the d i v i s i o n c a n ever be more than r o u g h and r e a d y g i v e n the p r o c e d u r e s i n the r e g i s t r a r s ' c o u r t s . E v e n a c k n o w l e d g i n g the v a r i a t i o n s i n t ime s p e n t f rom c a s e to c a s e , i t i s r e m a r k a b l e t h a t o n l y f o u r t e e n o u t o f s i x t y s e v e n r e g i s t r a r s t h o u g h t t h a t h e a r i n g s l a s t e d more 59 than h a l f an hour on a v e r a g e . In the m a j o r i t y o f c a s e s , l a c k o f t ime 60 p r e c l u d e d the r e g i s t r a r f rom r e a d i n g the p a p e r s b e f o r e the h e a r i n g . I t was acknowledged t h a t the a f f i d a v i t s on the c o u r t f i l e may i n any e v e n t be o u t o f d a t e and u n r e l i a b l e , 6 * b u t the e x t e n t to w h i c h d i s c o v e r y o f documents w i t h a v iew to v e r i f y i n g f a c t o r s s u c h as income was i n s i s t e d upon v a r i e d . G i v e n the d i s a d v a n t a g e s o f documenta ry e v i d e n c e , i t i s s u r p r i s i n g t h a t , w h i l s t f o r t y r e g i s t r a r s c o n s i d e r e d i t an a d v a n t a g e to them to have the p a r t i e s p r e s e n t f o r o r a l e x a i n a t i o n , 62 t h i r t e e n r e g i s t r a r s saw i t as a d i s a d v a n t a g e . One o f the l a t t e r group f e l t t h a t s o l i c i t o r s c o u l d r e a c h the p o i n t q u i c k e r and waste l e s s 63 t i m e . I t c o u l d b e , t h e r e f o r e , t h a t some r e g i s t r a r s w i l l abandon a q u e s t f o r the b e s t a v a i l a b l e e v i d e n c e i n the i n t e r e s t s o f the e f f i c i e n t 143 f u n c t i o n i n g o f the c o u r t s . A l t e r n a t i v e l y , the r e s u l t s d i s c l o s e a d i v e r g e n c e o f o p i n i o n w i t h r e s p e c t to the v a l u e o f documenta ry and o r a l e v i d e n c e i n t h i s c o n t e x t . I t wou ld be i n t e r e s t i n g to l e a r n w h e t h e r , 16 y e a r s a f t e r t h i s s t u d y , the p r a c t i c e o f r e g i s t r a r s has become more s t a n d a r d i s e d and the p r o c e d u r e more r i g o r o u s . C e r t a i n l y , the w r i t e r ' s r e c e n t e x p e r i e n c e w i t h r e s p e c t to the p r o c e d u r e o f r e g i s t r a r s i n the n o r t h - w e s t o f E n g l a n d i s d i f f e r e n t f r o m the r e s u l t s o f the s u r v e y . C o n t e s t e d m a t t e r s a r e a l m o s t a lways i n v e s t i g a t e d f o r l o n g e r than h a l f an hour and the p r e s e n c e o f the p a r t i e s i s r e q u i r e d . H e a r i n g s a r e a l s o o c c a s i o n a l l y r e q u i r e d f o r a p p r o v a l o f a s e t t l e m e n t - i f one o f the p a r t i e s i s u n r e p r e s e n t e d . T h e r e i s the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t m a t t e r s n o t i n v o l v i n g l e g a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a r e d e a l t w i t h more e x p e d i t i o u s l y and t h a t the w r i t e r ' s i m p r e s s i o n i s i r r e l e v a n t to a l a r g e number o f c a s e s . However , i t i s f e l t u n l i k e l y t h a t p rob lems a r i s i n g f rom the p r o c e s s o f a d j u d i c a t i o n a r e to be a t t r i b u t e d to r e g i s t r a r s a d o p t i n g p r o c e d u r a l s h o r t - c u t s . 64 i i The Denver D i s t r i c t C o u r t _ S t u d y T h i s s t u d y was u n d e r t a k e n i n 1978 and i n v o l v e d a r e v i e w o f a random sample o f 287 c h i l d s u p p o r t m a t t e r s b e f o r e the D i s t r i c t C o u r t i n D e n v e r , C o l o r a d o . In a l l c a s e s , the p a r e n t s were r e s i d e n t i n d i f f e r e n t c o u n t i e s and the m a t t e r s were b r o u g h t b e f o r e the c o u r t p u r s u a n t to the U n i f o r m R e c i p r o c a l E n f o r c e m e n t o f S u p p o r t A c t . I t was the p r a c t i c e o f the c o u r t to a s s i g n s u c h m a t t e r s , as a g e n e r a l r u l e , to two d o m e s t i c r e l a t i o n s j u d g e s . The v a r i a b l e o f the l a w y e r s ' d i f f e r e n t a b i l i t i e s was c o n t r o l l e d to a l a r g e e x t e n t b e c a u s e a l l p e t i t i o n e r s were r e p r e s e n t e d by the a u t h o r o r her f e l l o w d i s t r i c t a t t o r n e y . The h y p o t h e s i s was t h a t v a r i a t i o n s i n the r a n g e o f the o r d e r s c o u l d be e x p l a i n e d w i t h r e f e r e n c e to one o r more 144 o f the f o l l o w i n g s i x v a r i a b l e s : the income o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t , the j u d g e , the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s a t t o r n e y , the d i s t r i c t a t t o r n e y , 65 the s e a s o n o f the y e a r and the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s e x p e n s e s . H e r c o n c l u s i o n was t h a t o r d e r s were n o t made c o n s i s t e n t l y b u t t h a t none o f 66 the s i x f a c t o r s c o u l d e x p l a i n the v a r i a t i o n . What m i g h t be more i m p o r t a n t i s how the j u d g e , the a t t o r n e y s and the r e s p o n d e n t r e a c t to e a c h o t h e r . ^ 7 I f t h i s i s s o , n o t o n l y d o e s i t seem q u i t e a r b i t r a r y b u t , as the a u t h o r p o i n t s o u t , i t i s a l s o u n f a i r b e c a u s e o n l y one o f the p a r t i e s , the r e s p o n d e n t , i s p e r s o n a l l y b e f o r e the c o u r t to make a good 6 8 o r bad i m p r e s s i o n as the c a s e may b e . E v e n i f the r e a s o n s f o r v a r i a t i o n s i n the a d j u d i c a t i o n s r e m a i n o b s c u r e , what was the s c a l e o f the o b s e r v e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n d e c i s i o n s ? W i t h r e s p e c t to the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s i n c o m e , i t was o b s e r v e d t h a t the p e r c e n t a g e o f income p a i d f o r one c h i l d v a r i e d f rom 5% to 4 1 % . ^ The d a t a does n o t s u g g e s t t h a t t h i s i s due to the j u d g e s ' a d h e r e n c e to a p o l i c y t h a t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t need o n l y meet the c h i l d ' s needs up to a c e r t a i n b a s i c s t a n d a r d , w h i c h would l e a d to w e a l t h i e r p a r e n t s b e i n g o r d e r e d to pay a s m a l l e r p r o p o r t i o n o f t h e i r i n c o m e . I t i s s u g g e s t e d t h a t the s p e c i a l i s t d o m e s t i c r e l a t i o n s judges were l e s s p r e d i c t a b l e t h a n the o t h e r j u d g e s , none o f whom were s p e c i a l i s t s . T h i s may i n d i c a t e the s p e c i a l i s t j u d g e s ' c o n c e r n to be as i n d e p e n d e n t o f the d i s t r i c t a t t o r n e y s as p o s s i b l e and t h e i r g r e a t e r c o n f i d e n c e i n t h e i r a b i l i t y a p p r o p r i a t e l y to d e p a r t f rom the e s t a b l i s h e d p a t h i n c e r t a i n c a s e s . 7 ^ However , the s p e c i a l i s t j u d g e s ' d e c i s i o n s a f t e r c o n t e s t e d h e a r i n g s a r e r e l a t i v e l y c o n s i s t e n t and p r e d i c t a b l e . I t i s when t h e i r o r d e r s a p p r o v i n g s e t t l e m e n t s n e g o t i a t e d by the p a r t i e s a r e c o n s i d e r e d t h a t a w i d e r range o f d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g e m e r g e s . 7 * T h i s i s n o t i n d i c a t i v e 145 o f e r r a t i c a d j u d i c a t i o n b u t o f an u n w i l l i n g n e s s to i n t e r f e r e w i t h s e t t l e m e n t s w i t h w h i c h the p a r t i e s t h e m s e l v e s a r e h a p p y . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to n o t e t h a t the g r e a t e s t range o f v a r i a t i o n was found i n the n e g o t i a t e d s e t t l e m e n t s , and t h i s i s p a r t i c u l a r l y so when b a r g a i n i n g power i s somewhat u n e q u a l , as i t w i l l be when the r e s p o n d e n t 72 has no l e g a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . A l t h o u g h the p r e d i c t e d r e s u l t w i l l p r o b a b l y i n f l u e n c e the c o u r s e o f n e g o t i a t i o n s , t h i s o b s e r v a t i o n c o n c e r n i n g the i n c o n s i s t e n c y amongst s e t t l e m e n t s s h o u l d l e a d to some r e t i c e n c e about whether i t i s e r r a t i c a d j u d i c a t i o n t h a t c a u s e s s i m i l a r l y s i t u a t e d i n d i v i d u a l s to be t r e a t e d d i f f e r e n t l y i n s u p p o r t m a t t e r s . T h i s s t u d y a l s o has some i n t e r e s t f o r those who a d v o c a t e the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f s c a l e s w i t h r e f e r e n c e to w h i c h the amount o f s u p p o r t can be f i x e d . In 1973, some f i v e y e a r s b e f o r e the s t u d y , g u i d e l i n e s were propounded f o r r e f e r e n c e p u r p o s e s o n l y by a judge who had d i e d by the t ime o f the s t u d y . Yee found t h a t these g u i d e l i n e s had had l i t t l e e f f e c t . On a v e r a g e , n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s were p a y i n g 57% o f the amount 73 recommended f o r two c h i l d r e n . The g u i d e l i n e s recommended a d i f f e r e n t i a l between o r d e r s f o r one c h i l d and o r d e r s f o r two c h i l d r e n o f 74 87% whereas i n p r a c t i c e the d i f f e r e n t i a l was 28%. The mere e x i s t e n c e o f g u i d a n c e does n o t s t a n d a r d i s e p r a c t i c e . Perhaps i t i s n e c e s s a r y to g i v e g u i d e l i n e s a h i g h e r s t a t u s than m e r e l y recommendatory and to g e n e r a t e a c c o u n t a b i l i t y between those l a y i n g down the g u i d e l i n e s and t h o s e u s i n g them i f the two groups a r e d i f f e r e n t . I n D e n v e r , i t may have been t h a t the a b s e n c e o f the judge who d e v i s e d the g u i d e l i n e s e n a b l e d the judges to d i s r e g a r d them w i t h o u t e m b a r r a s s m e n t . 146 i l l T h e j O r a n g e C o u n t y , F l o r i d a S t u d y The p u r p o s e o f t h i s s t u d y was to d i s c o v e r i f j u d g e s adhered to any f i n a n c i a l o r economic p r i n c i p l e s i n e x e r c i s i n g t h e i r d i s c r e t i o n i n c h i l d s u p p o r t and a l i m o n y m a t t e r s . From 1971 to 1974, 532 c a s e s were a n a l y s e d i n c l u d i n g e i g h t y w h i c h d i d n o t i n v o l v e c h i l d r e n . W h i t e and S t o n e c o n c l u d e d t h a t the s t a t u t e g o v e r n i n g the e x e r c i s e o f j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n was a i m i n g to e s t a b l i s h some fo rm o f o b j e c t i v e p r o c e d u r e b u t t h a t t h i s had n o t been a c h i e v e d . 7 * ' W i t h r e s p e c t to c h i l d s u p p o r t , t h e y o b s e r v e d i n c o n s i s t e n c y amongst the j u d i c i a l body as a w h o l e , though i t appeared t h a t e a c h judge was c o n s i s t e n t as to h i s own a p p r o a c h . 7 7 Not even t h i s i n d i v i d u a l i s m was d i s c e r n i b l e when i t came to a l i m o n y d e t e r m i n a t i o n s : ' [ J J u d g e s were n o t t h e m s e l v e s c l e a r as to what v a r i a b l e s s h o u l d be used to c o n s t i t u t e an a l i m o n y m o d e l . ' 78 To draw t o g e t h e r the o b s e r v a t i o n s f rom t h e s e t h r e e s t u d i e s o f f i r s t i n s t a n c e a d j u d i c a t o r s , the dominan t theme i s l a c k o f c o n s i s t e n c y . T h i s may be e v i d e n t i n the way p a r t i c u l a r r e c u r r i n g p r o b l e m s , s u c h as r e c e i p t o f s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e and m a t r i m o n i a l m i s c o n d u c t , a r e d e a l t w i t h , i n the p r o c e d u r e adopted f o r d i s c o v e r i n g f a c t s and h e a r i n g the c a s e o r i n a c o m p a r i s o n o f t r e a t m e n t o f a p p a r e n t l y s i m i l a r l y s i t u a t e d i n d i v i d u a l s . What i s a l s o d e m o n s t r a t e d i s t h a t t h i s i n c o n s i s t e n c y p e r s i s t s n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g s t a t u t e s t h a t s e t o u t a range o f a c t i o n s f o r the c o u r t ' s c o n s i d e r a t i o n a n d , i n the c a s e o f the M a t r i m o n i a l C a u s e s A c t 1973 a t the 79 t ime o f the r e s e a r c h o f B a r r i n g t o n B a k e r e t a l , an o b j e c t i v e f o r the 80 c o u r t to a i m f o r i n e x e r c i s i n g i t s d i s c r e t i o n . The i n c o n s i s t e n c y may a l s o s u r v i v e the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f recommendatory g u i d e l i n e s i f n o t h i n g f u r t h e r i s done to r e n d e r s u c h g u i d e l i n e s a c c e p t a b l e to the j u d i c i a r y . 147 More f u n d a m e n t a l l y , a l l t h r e e s t u d i e s come to the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t i n c o n s i s t e n c y i s a m a t t e r o f s e r i o u s c o n c e r n . B a r r i n g t o n B a k e r e t a l , w h i l s t b e l i e v i n g t h a t d i f f e r e n c e s i n a p p r o a c h w i l l u s u a l l y n o t a f f e c t the outcome m a t e r i a l l y , n e v e r t h e l e s s p r o p o s e t h a t ' a r e a s e x i s t where 81 g u i d e l i n e s m i g h t be more c l e a r l y o r more s u c c e s s f u l l y l a i d d o w n ' . Yee a d v o c a t e s t a k i n g t ime ' t o e s t a b l i s h f a i r , c o n s i s t e n t s t a n d a r d s to be used i n e s t a b l i s h i n g s u p p o r t o r d e r s , so t h a t a l l c h i l d r e n and a l l f a t h e r s would be t r e a t e d e q u a l l y ' . Wh i te and S t o n e c l a i m t h a t an 83 e c o n o m e t r i c model would be v a l u a b l e i n m i n i m i s i n g i n e q u i t y . Y e t how v a l u a b l e a r e c e r t a i n t y and p r e d i c t a b i l i t y o f a d j u d i c a t i o n i n t h i s b r a n c h o f the law? How c r u c i a l a r e t h e y to the f u t u r e w e l l - b e i n g o f s i n g l e - p a r e n t f a m i l i e s ? One argument why c o n s i s t e n c y i s v a l u a b l e i n i t s e l f i s t h a t i t l e a d s to g r e a t e r e f f i c i e n c y i n the d i s p o s a l o f m a t r i m o n i a l c a s e s b e c a u s e s e t t l e m e n t s a r e e n c o u r a g e d . L i t i g i o u s n e s s c a n be r e d u c e d i f e v e n t u a l outcomes a r e more e a s i l y p r e d i c t e d . Not o n l y the S t a t e b e n e f i t s f rom e f f i c i e n c y i n the c o u r t s . T h o s e c a s e s w h i c h c a n n o t be s e t t l e d w i l l be a d j u d i c a t e d upon s o o n e r to the g r e a t e r s a t i s f a c t i o n o f those i n v o l v e d . The p a r t i e s a l s o have an i n t e r e s t i n s e t t l i n g the m a t t e r to s a v e t i m e , money, a n x i e t y and the s t r a i n o f c o n t i n u i n g , e x a c e r b a t e d c o n f l i c t . T h e r e f o r e , any f a c t o r w h i c h conduces to the s e t t l e m e n t o f d i s p u t e s i s i m p o r t a n t to the w e l f a r e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . A l l i e d to t h i s p o i n t i s the argument t h a t , i f d e c i s i o n s a r e made i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h w e l l - k n o w n and a c c e p t e d s t a n d a r d s , the p a r t i e s a r e l e s s l i k e l y to b e l i e v e t h e y have been p o o r l y t r e a t e d and c o m p l i a n c e w i t h the terms o f the o r d e r may be r e n d e r e d more p r o b a b l e as a r e s u l t . The l e s s s u r p r i s i n g the f i n a l o u t c o m e , the more l i k e l y i t i s to be a c c e p t e d as 148 proper. Likewise, fewer l i t i g a n t s w i l l be tempted to press on In the hope that they w i l l obtain a w i n d f a l l i n the l o t t e r y . Wexler questions whether we take 'the i n j u s t i c e of defeated 84 expectations too seriously'? Even i f the above suggestions about l i t i g a n t s ' responses to a r e l a t i v e l y c e r t a i n outcome are correct, i s the operation of rules leading to r i g i d l y consistent adjudication to be unequivocally welcomed? I t i s i m p l i c i t i n the above out l i n e of the benefits of consistency that people w i l l more r e a d i l y comply with an order i f they f e e l i t i s i n accordance with established standards and has been arrived at by a recognised procedure. Wexler argues that this association of rules with j u s t i c e and the tendency to view d i s c r e t i o n as 85 e s p e c i a l l y susceptible to a r b i t r a r i n e s s are both mistaken. He believes that: 'rules can work e f f e c t i v e l y i n the s i t u a t i o n s where the differences between people can be ignored, where the f a c t u a l s i t u a t i o n s to be regulated are f a i r l y well known i n advance, and where the p o l i c i e s behind the rules are r e l a t i v e l y c l e a r and non-contradictory.' 86 On this a n a l y s i s , disputes over support obligations do not lend themselves to r e s o l u t i o n with reference to r u l e s . To seek to do so might lead to a f a i l u r e to d i s t i n g u i s h properly between cases and to group together cases which do not belong together. Where i s the v i r t u e i n using rules which are too r i g i d to categorise matters adequately? Wexler's argument i s that consistency of approach i s worth s t r i v i n g f o r but that rules w i l l not achieve i t . L i m i t i n g j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n i n these cases i s to imply that there i s a correct answer towards which the judge can be pushed. As Asquith L J . remarked i n the E n g l i s h Court of Appeal i n Bellenden (formerly Satterthwaite) v Satterthwaite, i t could 87 be that 'widely d i f f e r e n t decisions' could be reached on the same 149 evidence without either being wrong. However, what is to be said against the dogged pragmatist who concedes that there may be a range of notionally correct answers but ins is ts , contrary to Wexler, that the 88 'defeated expectations' of l i t igants are to be taken seriously because of the need to foster a constructive continuing relationship between them? It can be argued further that the requirement in matrimonial l i t i g a t i o n to promote satisfaction with the outcome can just i fy a selection from amongst the range of correct answers of the answer which best f i t s the policies of the State towards matrimonial breakdown. The virtues of consistency as a goal in i t s e l f are such that the policy choices should be made by the legislature, thereby cutting down the range of possible outcomes. It w i l l be examined subsequently how this might be done with a view to furthering the welfare of the single parent family. To summarise, the conclusion to be drawn is that i t is correct to be concerned abut the inconsistent exercise of discretion and that consistency is l i k e l y to promote the welfare of single parent families, regardless of the particular standards employed, to a greater extent than inconsistency. 2• Problems of Adequacy of Orders Thus far, the benefits of consistent adjudication have been discussed in the abstract. If i t is proposed to devise a model for support awards with a view to its comprehensive application, i t is clearly of crucial importance to have an idea of what is adequate provision for a single parent family. For some, l imit ing judic ia l discretion in this f i e l d is an opportunity to ensure adequate standards 150 of support for, i n the past, so i t may be argued, awards have been c o n s i s t e n t l y too low. I f this proposition can be shown to be true by empirical i n v e s t i g a t i o n , i t c l e a r l y provides the r a t i o n a l e for the l e g i s l a t u r e to circumscribe the ambit of j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n with a view, in the words of Ronald Reagan's 1983 P r e s i d e n t i a l Proclamation, to placing 'the f i n a n c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y where i t r i g h t l y belongs - on the parent who has been l e g a l l y ordered to support his c h i l d ' . The obtaining of more funds from the non-custodial parent i s the chief aim of the Child Support Enforcement Amendments 1984 which provide, amongst other matters, for the establishment i n each State by October 1987 of qu a n t i t a t i v e standards with reference to which the amount of c h i l d 89 support can be c a l c u l a t e d . As was noted i n the previous chapter about enforcement of orders, an approach to the f i n a n c i a l probems of s i n g l e parent f a m i l i e s which seeks to impose greater burdens on the non-custodial parent proceeds i n the b e l i e f that there i s money a v a i l a b l e . The Finer Committee i n 90 B r i t a i n doubted the a b i l i t y of non-custodial parents to pay more and recognised 'that most one-parent fa m i l i e s could not subsist on the proceeds of the maintenance orders, or on any amount to which i t would 91 be possible to increase them'. H a r r i s , McDonald and Weston's review of the A u s t r a l i a n I n s t i t u t e of Family Studies' research i n V i c t o r i a i n 1984 suggests, on the other hand, that there i s scope for 'a sharp increase i n l e v e l s of maintenance while leaving most non-custodial men better o f f than they had been during the f i n a l year of their 92 marriage . The capacity of the non-custodial parent to make greater provision for the former household i s an issue which has received d i f f e r e n t analyses according to time and l o c a t i o n . 151 What i s pe rhaps more i m p o r t a n t to a p p r e c i a t e i n the p r e s e n t c o n t e x t i s t h a t g r e a t e r p r o v i s i o n by the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t may l e a d n o t to more adequa te l e v e l s o f income f o r the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t b u t to more a c c e p t a b l e l e v e l s o f recoupment o f w e l f a r e e x p e n d i t u r e by the S t a t e . I t can be a r g u e d t h a t t h i s i s e s p e c i a l l y l i k e l y to be so i f a s t a t e a g e n c y , w h i c h a l s o has r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r e n f o r c e m e n t o f o r d e r s , a s s i s t s the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t i n s e t t l i n g the s u p p o r t c l a i m . In Sweden, the c h i l d w e l f a r e o f f i c e r s have an i m p o r t a n t r o l e i n e s t a b l i s h i n g p a t e r n i t y and 93 f i x i n g a f i g u r e f o r c h i l d s u p p o r t to be p a i d by the f a t h e r . T h i s l e a d s to a v e r y h i g h p r o p o r t i o n o f f a t h e r s h a v i n g o r d e r s a g a i n s t them w i t h r e s p e c t to t h e i r c h i l d r e n b o r n o u t o f w e d l o c k . I n Sweden as a whole i n 1968, 92% o f f a t h e r s whose c h i l d r e n were r e c e i v i n g p u b l i c 94 a s s i s t a n c e were s u b j e c t to an o r d e r . In the U . S . A . , Takas c l a i m s to have i d e n t i f i e d a t endency on the p a r t o f some O f f i c e s o f C h i l d S u p p o r t E n f o r c e m e n t to n e g o t i a t e a s e t t l e m e n t on the m o t h e r ' s b e h a l f w h i c h i s j u s t l e s s than h e r w e l f a r e 95 e n t i t l e m e n t . T h i s has the a d v a n t a g e o f r e t a i n i n g the f a m i l y ' s e l i g i b i l t i y f o r the b e n e f i t s s u c h as M e d i c a i d . However , an a r t i f i c i a l l y low s e t t l e m e n t i s d i s a d v a n t a g e o u s when the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s s o u r c e o f income changes to e a r n i n g s . T h e s e p o i n t s c o u l d e q u a l l y w e l l be made c o n c e r n i n g the p r e p a r e d n e s s o f some o f the r e g i s t r a r s i n E n g l a n d and Wales i n t e r v i e w e d by B a r r i n g t o n B a k e r e t a l to r e d u c e o r d e r s s l i g h t l y 96 below the l e v e l o f w e l f a r e p a y m e n t s . In b o t h c a s e s , the government i s a b l e to r e c o u p i t s e x p e n d i t u r e , w h i c h i s one o f the c h i e f a ims o f the a g e n c i e s i n v o l v e d . So f a r , two p o s s i b l e c a u s e s o f i n a d e q u a t e p r o v i s i o n , l a c k o f money and the p o l i c i e s o f s t a t e a g e n c i e s charged w i t h e n f o r c i n g o b l i g a t i o n s , 152 have been i d e n t i f i e d which are not connected with the exercise of j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n . A th i r d cause, again not connected with the i n i t i a l f i x i n g of the amount of support, i s the f a i l u r e of orders to keep pace with i n f l a t i o n and the r i s i n g costs of c h i l d r e n as they grow older. The reasons why orders are permitted to devalue are complex and, i n some aspects, akin to the reasons why single parents do not enforce their support orders. The costs of regular v a r i a t i o n proceedings over the l i f e - t i m e of an order i n terms of l e g a l fees, time and energy may, in the minds of many sing l e parents, outweigh the l i k e l y b e n e f i t s . In England, f o r example, proceedings to vary an order pursuant to s 31 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 involve a review of a l l the matters which would be taken into account were the a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a f i r s t order. This i s quite proper, but i t emphasises that v a r i a t i o n proceedings are not n e c e s s a r i l y an easier or more manageable undertaking than the o r i g i n a l f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f proceedings. If the onus i s placed on the single parent to up-rate the order every three years or so, i t should come as no surprise that orders which, when issued, may have been quite substantial make a minimal coontribution to the welfare of a teenager twelve years or so l a t e r . Williams i l l u s t r a t e s the problem with respect to Delaware which, i n 97 his estimation, has 'an unusually accessible court system'. In 1985, 58% as many v a r i a t i o n applications were received as applications for new orders, whereas va r i a t i o n s should outnumber fresh applications i f 98 e x i s t i n g orders are being r e g u l a r l y reviewed. A further i n d i c a t i o n of the scale of the problem can be gleaned from Williams' d e s c r i p t i o n of 99 the modification programme f o r welfare cases i n New Jersey. The continuing appropriateness of orders more than two years old was tested 153 w i t h r e f e r e n c e to the New J e r s e y g u i d e l i n e . T h i s a d m i n i s t r a t i v e p r o c e d u r e led- to m o d i f i c a t i o n h e a r i n g s w h i c h i n c r e a s e d the amount o f the o r d e r by an a v e r a g e o f 2 .23 t i m e s . * 0 0 These examples d e m o n s t r a t e the p o t e n t i a l f o r c o n s t a n t l y i m p r o v i n g the adequacy o f s u p p o r t a w a r d s . A t p r e s e n t , however , the s i n g l e p a r e n t o r i n d e e d the p a y i n g p a r e n t i s f a c e d w i t h an o f t e n a r d u o u s t a s k w h i c h he o r she may have l i t t l e s tomach f o r . T h i s b r i e f s u r v e y o f p o s s i b l e c a u s e s o f i n a d e q u a c y i n s u p p o r t o r d e r s i s n e c e s s a r y to i l l u s t r a t e t h a t a l l e g e d d e f i c i e n c i e s c a n n o t a l w a y s be a t t r i b u t e d to the p r o c e s s o f a d j u d i c a t i o n . T h i s i s n o t to s a y t h a t the a d j u d i c a t o r s s u r v i v e s c r u t i n y w i t h o u t c r i t i c i s m . Chambers draws a t t e n t i o n to the d e v e l o p m e n t o f p r a c t i c e s i n the M i c h i g a n c o u r t s f o r f i x i n g c h i l d s u p p o r t w h i c h have a r i s e n o u t o f c u s t o m r a t h e r than knowledge o f e x p e n d i t u r e on c h i l d r e n . * 0 * To the b e s t o f h i s k n o w l e d g e , the a p p r o a c h o f the M i c h i g a n c o u r t s was r e s u l t i n g i n o r d e r s h i g h e r than e l s e w h e r e i n the U S A , when the amount o f the o r d e r i s compared w i t h the 102 n o n - c u s . t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s e a r n i n g s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , the p r i o r s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g o f the c h i l d r e n was n o t m a i n t a i n e d , even i f the o r d e r was 103 p a i d . T h o s e who c r i t i c i s e the amounts o r d e r e d f o r the s u p p o r t o f c h i l d r e n d e p l o y as t h e i r p r i n c i p a l argument the s u g g e s t i o n t h a t d e c i s i o n s a r e t a k e n i n i g n o r a n c e o f the o u t - o f - p o c k e t c o s t s o f r a i s i n g a c h i l d and o f the t o t a l expenses o f the h o u s e h o l d i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the c h i l d , w h i c h i n c l u d e the i n c o m e - e a r n i n g o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r e g o n e by the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t due to c u s t o d i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . F o r e x a m p l e , E s p e n s h a d e remarks on ' t h e a p p a r e n t h a p h a z a r d n a t u r e by w h i c h c h i l d s u p p o r t i s 104 meted o u t ' and p r a i s e s D e l a w a r e as an example o f a j u r i s d i c t i o n w h i c h has c o n c e p t u a l i s e d i t s s t r a t e g y w i t h r e s p e c t to c h i l d s u p p o r t and 154 e s t a b l i s h e d f i g u r e s f o r minimum n e e d s . H o u s e h o l d economics i s a t e c h n i c a l s u b j e c t and n o t a m a t t e r o f common s e n s e o r w o r l d l y k n o w l e d g e . One o f the p u r p o s e s o f E s p e n s h a d e ' s s t u d y o f 8 ,547 h o u s e h o l d s a c r o s s the USA i s to e d u c a t e p a r e n t s a b o u t the l i k e l y l e v e l s o f t h e i r p a r e n t s and f u t u r e e x p e n d i t u r e on t h e i r c h i l d r e n b e c a u s e 'most p e o p l e a r e g r o s s l y m i s i n f o r m e d a b o u t the economic l i a b i l i t i e s o f r e a r i n g c h i l d r e n ' W e i t z m a n , i n h e r a n a l y s i s o f the d i v e r g e n t economic f o r t u n e s o f men and women under the n o - f a u l t d i v o r c e r e g i m e i n C a l i f o r n i a , r e g a r d s E s p e n s h a d e ' s f i g u r e s f o r the c o s t s o f r a i s i n g c h i l d r e n as c o n s e r v a t i v e b u t u s e f u l f o r i n d i c a t i n g the low l e v e l o f s u p p o r t b e i n g o r d e r e d . * ^ 7 So f a r i n t h i s c h a p t e r , i t has been a t tempted to o f f e r a d i a g n o s i s o f some o f the prob lems o f d e t e r m i n i n g s u p p o r t e n t i t l e m e n t s a t f i r s t i n s t a n c e a n d , where a p p r o p r i a t e , i t has been p o i n t e d o u t how m a t t e r s w h i c h m i g h t appear to i n d i c a t e poor a d j u d i c a t i v e p r a c t i c e s m i g h t be e x p l i c a b l e w i t h r e f e r e n c e to o t h e r f a c t o r s . I t i s now a p p r o p r i a t e to be more than d e s c r i p t i v e o f the p r e s e n t and to o f f e r an a n a l y s i s o f how t h e s e methods a r e b e i n g i m p r o v e d . 3 . R e f o r m o f the P r o c e s s o f C a l c u l a t i n g S u p p o r t In t h i s s e c t i o n , c o n s i d e r a t i o n w i l l be g i v e n to a number o f p r o p o s a l s to g u i d e a d j u d i c a t o r s towards p a r t i c u l a r s o l u t i o n s w i t h i n the range o f p o s s i b l e s o l u t i o n s . The a d j u d i c a t o r ' s f i e l d o f c h o i c e can be l i m i t e d b y , f o r e x a m p l e , w e i g h t i n g the r e l e v a n t c o n s i d e r a t i o n s f o r him o r h e r r a t h e r than a l l o w i n g h im o r h e r to a t t r i b u t e v a r y i n g d e g r e e s o f s i g n i f i c a n c e to the f a c t o r s a c c o r d i n g to how the f a c t s o f the c a s e a r e p e r c e i v e d . I t would be wrong to r e g a r d the impetus to e x t r a c t much o f 155 the e lement o f d i s c r e t i o n f rom the p r o c e s s as e x c l u s i v e l y A m e r i c a n i n o r i g i n b u t t h e r e i s no d o u b t t h a t the C h i l d S u p p o r t E n f o r c e m e n t Amendments 1984 and the o b l i g a t ' i o n upon S t a t e s to e s t a b l i s h q u a n t i t a t i v e g u i d e l i n e s have c o n c e n t r a t e d A m e r i c a n minds on the p r o b l e m . The d i s c u s s i o n w i l l f o c u s f i r s t o f a l l on p r o p o s a l s to a c c o r d g r e a t e r w e i g h t to the c o s t o f r a i s i n g c h i l d r e n and how t h i s c a n be c a l c u l a t e d and s h a r e d . * E m p h a s i s i n g c o s t s and e x p e n d i t u r e I t i s i m p o r t a n t to be c l e a r whether the d i s c u s s i o n i s l i m i t e d to o u t - o f - p o c k e t c o s t s on f o o d , c l o t h i n g , t r a n s p o r t , s h e l t e r , r e c r e a t i o n and so o n , o r whether the f o r e g o n e e a r n i n g o p p o r t u n i t i e s i n v o l v e d i n s p e n d i n g t ime l o o k i n g a f t e r c h i l d r e n a r e to be c o n s i d e r e d i n a d d i t i o n . T h i s i m m e d i a t e l y r a i s e s a d i l e m m a , w h i c h w i l l be m e n t i o n e d f u r t h e r 108 b e l o w , f o r t h o s e who wou ld seek to r e f o r m one e lement o f the p r o c e s s o f f i n a n c i a l a d j u s t m e n t a f t e r d i v o r c e . How a r e the i s s u e s o f m a t r i m o n i a l p r o p e r t y , s p o u s a l m a i n t e n a n c e and c h i l d m a i n t e n a n c e to be k e p t s e p a r a t e ? How can the c o s t s o f c h i l d r e n be s e p a r a t e d f rom those o f the c a r e g i v e r ? How c a n s u p p o r t be o f f e r e d to one member o f a h o u s e h o l d w i t h o u t a f f e c t i n g o t h e r members? The s o l u t i o n to t h i s p r o b l e m o f c a t e g o r i s a t i o n o f need and c o s t has been to a t t r i b u t e the o p p o r t u n i t y c o s t s to the s p o u s e and a p p l y somewhat d i f f e r e n t p o l i c i e s to the t r e a t m e n t o f t h i s l e s s t a n g i b l e e x p e n d i t u r e . The s p o u s e ' s l o s s w i t h r e s p e c t to t ime s p e n t i n c a r i n g f o r c h i l d r e n r a t h e r than i n e c o n o m i c a l l y r e w a r d i n g a c t i v i t i e s i s n o t w i t h i n the ambi t o f c h i l d m a i n t e n a n c e . T h e r e i s no c o m p e l l i n g j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r t h i s c o m p a r t m e n t a l i s a t i o n and G i a m p e t r o i s c o r r e c t to c r i t i c i s e s o - c a l l e d c o s t - s h a r i n g f o r m u l a e w h i c h 109 o m i t t h i s head o f e x p e n s e . 156 T h e r e a r e o t h e r p r o b l e m s w i t h r e l y i n g too h e a v i l y on d a t a c o n c e r n i n g the c o s t s f o r c h i l d r e n . I t may be t h a t the c o s t o f r a i s i n g c h i l d r e n w i t h i n an i n t a c t h o u s e h o l d c a n n o t m e a n i n g f u l l y be t r a n s l a t e d to the s i t u a t i o n a f t e r m a r i t a l b r e a k d o w n . Too d e v o t e d an a d h e r e n c e to f i g u r e s d e r i v e d f rom s t u d i e s o f t w o - p a r e n t h o u s e h o l d s may l e a d to i n a c c u r a c i e s i n c o n s t r u c t i n g s c h e d u l e s f o r c h i l d s u p p o r t a w a r d s . C l e a r l y , the d u p l i c a t i o n o f expenses i n v o l v e d i n r u n n i n g two h o u s e h o l d s w i l l l e a d to an i n c r e a s e i n t o t a l e x p e n d i t u r e b u t by how much and to what e x t e n t i s the i n c r e a s e r e f e r r a b l e to the c h i l d r e n ' s e x p e n s e s ? Chambers s u g g e s t t h a t , to ' m a i n t a i n the same s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g , t o t a l income o f the two p a r e n t s w i l l have to r i s e betwen 10 and 25 p e r c e n t ' . 1 1 0 T h i s i s a b road r a n g e b u t , as w i t h a l l the f a c t o r s w h i c h c o m p r i s e the d e c e p t i v e l y s i m p l e c o n c e p t o f c o s t , an u n d e r e s t i m a t i o n o f i t s i m p o r t a n c e would l e a d to a g r e a t e r s h a r e o f the b u r d e n o f the c h i l d ' s upkeep f a l l i n g to the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . I f c o s t c a n n o t be c o m p r e h e n s i v e l y d e f i n e d , i t i s i n e v i t a b l e , no m a t t e r how f a i r l y the c o s t s f i g u r e i s d i v i d e d , t h a t c h a r g e s o f i n a d e q u a c y w i l l a g a i n be r a i s e d . An i t e m o f expense l e f t o u t o f the c a l c u l a t i o n o f c o s t i s l i k e l y to be an i t e m p a i d f o r t o t a l l y by the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . I t i s a rgued t h a t the main a p p e a l o f a f o r m u l a based upon c o s t l i e s i n the s i m p l i c i t y w i t h w h i c h i t can be o p e r a t e d once the p rob lems o f i t s d e s i g n a r e o v e r c o m e . I f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s o b l i g a t i o n i s t h a t p r o p o r t i o n o f the c o s t w h i c h h i s income b e a r s to the t o t a l o f the p a r e n t s ' i n c o m e s , v e r y l i t t l e i n f o r m a t i o n i s r e q u i r e d to a r r i v e a t the a p p r o p r i a t e f i g u r e . F o r W h i t e and S t o n e , t h i s i s a g r e a t a d v a n t a g e o f s u c h m o d e l s . 1 1 1 A d j u d i c a t o r s s i m p l y f i t the c a s e s i n t o the model and the s a v i n g s i n t ime a r e immense. I n d e e d , s i m p l i c i t y o f o p e r a t i o n i s 157 r e l e v a n t to the whole p r o c e s s o f d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g . I f f i x i n g c h i l d s u p p o r t i s o n l y a m a t t e r o f r e l a t i n g two p e o p l e ' s incomes to a s c h e d u l e o f e x p e n s e s , i t c e a s e s to be an a d j u d i c a t i o n and a m a t t e r f o r j u d i c i a l d e t e r m i n a t i o n . Removing d i s c r e t i o n i n the p r o c e s s c o u l d e a s i l y open i t up to a d m i n i s t r a t i o n by a b u r e a u c r a c y , w h i c h i s a n o t h e r i s s u e o f p o l i c y e n t i r e l y . Once the f o r m u l a becomes more s o p h i s t i c a t e d , i t i s l e s s easy and more t i m e - c o n s u m i n g to a p p l y . Bergmann would go beyond a d i v i s i o n o f the o u t - o f - p o c k e t expenses i n p r o p o r t i o n to income by c r e d i t i n g the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t w i t h the monetary v a l u e o f one h a l f o f the u n p a i d 112 p e r s o n a l s e r v i c e s w h i c h t h a t p a r e n t has g i v e n the c h i l d . T h i s i s e x p l i c i t l y to r e c o g n i s e t h a t the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t i s d o i n g the work o f b o t h p a r e n t s . No d o u b t the f o r m u l a c o u l d be f u r t h e r r e f i n e d to cope w i t h a r r a n g e m e n t s f o r j o i n t p a r e n t i n g . What i s s i g n i f i c a n t i s t h a t Bergmann c h o o s e s to d e a l w i t h the i s s u e o f u n p a i d s e r v i c e s by a d d i n g i t to the d i v i s i o n o f c o s t s as a s e p a r a t e i t e m r a t h e r than subsuming i t w i t h i n a f o r m u l a w h i c h d i v i d e s c o s t s , l i b e r a l l y d e f i n e d to i n c l u d e the c o s t o f work i n the home, i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h the t ime s p e n t w i t h e a c h 113 p a r e n t . As G i a m p e t r o p o i n t s o u t i n h e r c r i t i c i s m o f F r a n k s ' 114 a t t a c h m e n t o f s i g n i f i c a n c e to how the c h i l d d i v i d e s h i s o r her t i m e , t h i s i s u n r e a l i s t i c a l l y to assume t h a t a p a r e n t ' s c o n t r i b u t i o n to the c o s t o f a c h i l d ' s c l o t h e s , s h e l t e r and o t h e r f i x e d expenses v a r i e s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y to how much t ime i s s p e n t w i t h each p a r e n t . What c a n be drawn f r o m B e r g m a n n ' s p r o p o s a l * * 5 i s t h a t , i n s e e k i n g to r e c o g n i s e a p a r t i c u l a r a s p e c t o f the p r o b l e m and to d e v i s e a s y s t e m w h i c h g i v e s i t p r o p e r w e i g h t , g r e a t e r c o m p l e x i t y i s i n e v i t a b l y i n t r o d u c e d i n t o what was p r e v i o u s l y a r e l a t i v e l y s i m p l e e x e r c i s e , 158 r e n d e r i n g i t p o t e n t i a l l y v e r y d i f f i c u l t to u s e . P r e s u m a b l y , t h i s d i f f i c u l t y c o u l d be r e d u c e d by d e v i s i n g a s c h e d u l e o f the v a l u e o f u n p a i d p e r s o n a l s e r v i c e s w h i c h , w h i l s t open to c r i t i c i s m , would a v o i d the need to r e c e i v e e x p e r t e v i d e n c e on the p o i n t . To a d o p t the t e n o r o f 116 G i a m p e t r o ' s a rgument , the f o r m u l a w i l l o n l y promote c e r t a i n t y to the e x t e n t t h a t the terms a r e c e r t a i n and u n c e r t a i n t y o n l y k e e p s the d o o r a j a r f o r j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n to come to the f o r e once a g a i n . A d m i t t e d l y , Bergmann 's d i v i s i o n o f c o s t s * * 7 s t r i v e s f o r f a i r n e s s , n o t c e r t a i n t y , bu t i t i s s u r e l y t r u e t h a t terms l i k e ' i n c o m e ' and ' p e r s o n a l s e r v i c e s ' r e q u i r e s u b s i d i a r y f o r m u l a e f o r the p u r p o s e s o f d e f i n i t i o n i n o r d e r t h a t wha tever p u r p o s e the d e s i g n e r o f the f o r m u l a had i n mind can be a c h i e v e d . C o n t r a s t i n g to t h i s b road a p p r o a c h to the c h i l d ' s s i t u a t i o n w i t h i n the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y i s Wh i te and S t o n e ' s a t t empt to a l l o c a t e 118 w e i g h t i n g s to the c o n s u m p t i o n r a t e s o f the members o f the h o u s e h o l d . They seek to e v a l u a t e the economic impac t o f an i n d i v i d u a l ' s p r e s e n c e i n the h o u s e h o l d . I n t h i s way , the needs o f e a c h member o f the i n t a c t h o u s e h o l d can be d e t e r m i n e d r e l a t i v e to a l l o t h e r members and t h i s s c a l e o f need c a n be d i r e c t l y employed on m a r i t a l b reakdown, a l l o c a t i o n s b e i n g d e t e r m i n e d n o t i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h the numbers i n the h o u s e h o l d bu t i n 119 a c c o r d a n c e w i t h the w e i g h t i n g s d e r i v e d f rom the s c a l e . T h e r e a r e p rob lems w i t h t h i s a t t r a c t i v e l y s i m p l e a p p r o a c h . T h e r e i s the d a n g e r t h a t B r u c h ' s w a r n i n g o f the i n a d e q u a c i e s i n o u r e c o n o m i c knowledge w i t h r e s p e c t to the d i f f e r e n t c o s t s i n t w o - p a r e n t and 120 o n e - p a r e n t f a m i l i e s w i l l n o t be t a k e n s u f f i c i e n t l y s e r i o u s l y . F u r t h e r , how i s the c h o i c e o f c o m m o d i t i e s and s e r v i c e s to be made f o r the p u r p o s e o f d e v i s i n g the i n d e x , g i v e n t h a t i t may be i m p o s s i b l e to measure e v e r y t h i n g ? 159 This i s r a i s i n g once again the problems surrounding the issue of cost. Espenshade found 'great v a r i a t i o n [ i n parental expenditures] depending on the parents' socioeconomic status number of c h i l d r e n , 121 and wife's employment status'. He does, however, go on to report that the f r a c t i o n of family income committed to the children does not vary much with socioeconomic status but does vary with the number of 122 c h i l d r e n . This pattern has been u t i l i s e d i n some states which have established guidelines based only on the non-custodial parent's income 123 124 125 and the number of c h i l d r e n . Wisconsin and I l l i n o i s both employ systems which set fixed percentages of the payer's income, depending on how many c h i l d r e n there are. However, i f the children's standard of l i v i n g i s to be maintained, a greater percentage of j o i n t income may have to be committed to them than was the case i n the two-parent household. Maintenance of the p r i o r standard of l i v i n g i s i n many instances an unattainable target and the question a r i s e s as to what standard should be substituted. There i s no l o g i c i n choosing a minimum acceptable standard rather than any other. However, the fear has been expressed that focusing on the costs of r a i s i n g c h i l d r e n when f i x i n g general standards f o r c h i l d support w i l l lead to the establishment of the notion that there i s a basic cost of c h i l d r e n . The lowest common denominator w i l l be sought and, Cassetty predicts, these amounts w i l l come to be seen as ' a l l that are necessary, 126 f a i r , and reasonable'. Weitzman believes that too much emphasis on costs leads to 'a w e l f a r e - l i k e basic-needs approach to r a i s i n g V ^ I J i 127 c h i l d r e n ' . Yet this need not be so i f a cost-based formula i s subtle enough to respond to factors such as the influence of socioeconomic status by 160 d e a l i n g w i t h p e r c e n t a g e s o f income r a t h e r than a b s o l u t e f i g u r e s . N e i t h e r need the heads o f expense to be t a k e n i n t o a c c o u n t be l i m i t e d to the n e c e s s i t i e s o f l i f e . However , i f the c o n c e r n i s to e n a b l e the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y to s h a r e i n the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g w h i c h , i f he has no new d e p e n d a n t s , may w e l l have improved w i t h i n a s h o r t t ime o f d i v o r c e , c o n s i d e r a t i o n s h o u l d be g i v e n to the p o s s i b i l i t y o f a r e s o u r c e - s h a r i n g m o d e l . i i E m p h a s i s i n g a s h a r i n g o f r e s o u r c e s I s a b e l S a w h i l l , an A m e r i c a n e c o n o m i s t , has p r o v i d e d an e x c e p t i o n a l l y l u c i d a c c o u n t o f the p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f t h i s a p p r o a c h w i t h a v iew to d i s c o v e r i n g how f a r t r a n s f e r s o f income a t the p r e s e n t day f a l l s h o r t o f h e r i d e a l and to p r o m o t i n g the m a r g i n a l i s a t i o n o f j u d i c i a l 128 d i s c r e t i o n w i t h i n the p r o c e s s . The g u i d i n g p r i n c i p l e s a r e t h a t c h i l d r e n ' s s t a n d a r d s s h o u l d n o t d e c l i n e a f t e r the p a r e n t s s e p a r a t e b u t i f , as i n the v a s t m a j o r i t y o f c a s e s , the l o s s o f the economies o f s c a l e o f the t w o - p a r e n t f a m i l y r e n d e r s t h i s i n e v i t a b l e , a v a i l a b l e r e s o u r c e s 129 s h o u l d be s h a r e d on the b a s i s o f h o u s e h o l d s i z e . T h i s i s to s e e k to compare s t a n d a r d s o f l i v i n g w i t h some f o r m e r t i e r a t h e r than w i t h an a b s o l u t e l e v e l . I t has been a rgued t h a t i t i s e r r o n e o u s to r e g a r d t h i s as a d i s t i n g u i s h i n g f a c t o r between the r e s o u r c e s - b a s e d and the c o s t s - b a s e d m o d e l s , f o r t h e r e i s no t h e o r e t i c a l i n e v i t a b i l i t y i n the s e l e c t i o n o f a l o w e s t common d e m o n i n a t o r f o r c h i l d - r e a r i n g e x p e n d i t u r e . However , the r e q u i r e m e n t to d i s s e c t h o u s e h o l d b u d g e t s and to a t t r i b u t e i tems o f e x p e n d i t u r e to p a r t i c u l a r members o f the h o u s e h o l d i s d i m i n i s h e d i n i m p o r t a n c e , p a r t i c u l a r l y i f the d i v i s i o n o f r e s o u r c e s a c c o r d i n g to h o u s e h o l d s i z e i s per formed i n an u n s o p h i s t i c a t e d manner , s i m p l y o n numbers p r e s e n t r a t h e r t h a n on the b a s i s o f r a t e s o f 161 c o n s u m p t i o n o f p a r t i c u l a r i t e m s . I n d e e d , c r i t i c s o f those who a d v o c a t e the p r o m u l g a t i o n o f g u i d e l i n e s founded on the s h a r i n g o f r e s o u r c e s have s u g g e s t e d t h a t i t i s the e l u s i v e n e s s o f an a d e q u a t e d e f i n i t i o n o f c o s t r a t h e r than any p a r t i c u l a r a t t r a c t i o n o f the r e s o u r c e - s h a r i n g model 130 w h i c h has l e d them to a d o p t t h i s a p p r o a c h . A n o t h e r c r i t i c i s m goes to the h e a r t o f the m o d e l . I t i s t h a t the p a r e n t s s h o u l d n o t be e x p e c t e d to s h a r e t h e i r r e s o u r c e s a f t e r 131 s e p a r a t i o n . P a r t i c u l a r l y , i t i s d e b a t e d w h e t h e r r e s o u r c e s s h o u l d be s h a r e d between the p a r e n t s . I f t h e r e i s l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n p a i d to the n e e d s , c o n s u m p t i o n r a t e s and g e n e r a l economic i m p a c t o f p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l s , i t i s i n e v i t a b l e t h a t the r e s u l t i n g model w i l l a d d r e s s m a i n t e n a n c e o f the h o u s e h o l d r a t h e r than m a i n t e n a n c e o f the c h i l d r e n w i t h i n i t . I t i s s u b m i t t e d t h a t t h i s i n f a c t a c c o r d s more c l o s e l y w i t h the r e a l i t i e s o f the s i t u a t i o n . M a c l e a n and E e k e l a a r a r e r i g h t to l ament the E n g l i s h Law C o m m i s s i o n ' s f a i l u r e to r e v i e w f a m i l y s u p p o r t as 132 an o p t i o n , t h e r e b y m e l d i n g the c o n c e p t s o f s p o u s a l and c h i l d s u p p o r t i n t o a more c o h e r e n t whole and a n s w e r i n g the c o m p l a i n t o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t who c l a i m s t h a t payments d e s i g n a t e d f o r the c h i l d r e n b e n e f i t the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . Whatever i t s t h e o r e t i c a l a p p e a l , the c o n c e p t o f m a i n t e n a n c e payments ' t o the h o u s e h o l d ' i s o u t o f s t e p w i t h a l e g a l t r a d i t i o n w h i c h has d i s t i n g u i s h e d between the b a s e s f o r s p o u s a l and c h i l d s u p p o r t and i s now f a v o u r i n g the s e v e r a n c e o f f i n a n c i a l r e l a t i o n s between the s p o u s e s a t the e a r l i e s t o p p o r t u n i t y . I t s h o u l d n o t be f o r g o t t e n t h a t the immedia te c o n c e r n o f S t a t e s i n the USA i s to d e v i s e g u i d e l i n e s s p e c i f i c a l l y f o r the s u p p o r t o f c h i l d r e n r a t h e r t h a n f o r the h o u s e h o l d as a w h o l e . 162 I n D e l a w a r e , where the s o - c a l l e d M e l s o n f o r m u l a has been 133 i m p l e m e n t e d , a compromise between e m p h a s i s i n g c o s t s and e m p h a s i s i n g r e s o u r c e s has been s o u g h t . The o b l i g a t i o n to the c h i l d i s d i v i d e d i n t o a b a s i c e n t i t l e m e n t , w h i c h i n c l u d e s c h i l d - c a r e expenses r e l a t e d to the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s employment and e x t r a o r d i n a r y m e d i c a l e x p e n s e s , and a s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g a l l o w a n c e . T h i s i s a p r o p o r t i o n o f the income r e m a i n i n g a f t e r d e d u c t i n g the p a r e n t s ' own b a s i c needs a l l o w a n c e , the c h i l d ' s b a s i c e n t i t l e m e n t and a l l o w a n c e s f o r any new d e p e n d a n t s . The model can a l s o be a d j u s t e d to cope w i t h j o i n t p h y s i c a l c u s t o d y . I t i s i m p o r t a n t to n o t e t h a t , a l t h o u g h new d e p e n d a n t s a r e r e c o g n i s e d , t h e y a r e p r i o r i t i s e d l o w e r than the f i r s t f a m i l y w h i c h i s a s s u r e d the s t a n d a r d o f l i v i n g a l l o w a n c e o u t o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s r e m a i n i n g i n c o m e . The q u e s t i o n f o r d e s i g n e r s o f schemes w h i c h go beyond a s s u r i n g a minimum s t a n d a r d i s the e x t e n t to w h i c h t h i s s e n s e o f p r i o r i t i e s c a n be i n c u l c a t e d i n t o the p a y e r s . T h i s s u b j e c t was d i s c u s s e d i n the p r e v i o u s c h a p t e r . i i i The d e s i r a b i l i t y o f a q u a n t i t a t i v e s t a n d a r d W e i t z m a n ' s r e s e a r c h i n C a l i f o r n i a r e v e a l e d t h a t 60% o f the j u d g e s c l a i m e d t h a t t h e y c o n s i s t e n t l y r e l i e d on the a d v i s o r y g u i d e l i n e s 134 propounded by the L o s A n g e l e s S u p e r i o r C o u r t i n 1978. T h e s e g u i d e l i n e s s u g g e s t e d r a n g e s o f s u p p o r t awards a p p r o p r i a t e to p a r t i c u l a r income l e v e l s . What c o n c e r n s Wei tzman a b o u t the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f g u i d e l i n e s t h r o u g h o u t the USA i s t h a t h e r o b s e r v a t i o n s l e a d h e r to 135 c o n c l u d e t h a t they c a n d e p r e s s the l e v e l o f a w a r d s . I t appeared t h a t the top o f the range was r e g a r d e d as a c e i l i n g and c o n s e q u e n t l y i t was r a r e l y r e a c h e d , w h e t h e r i n c o n t e s t e d h e a r i n g s o r i n n e g o t i a t e d 136 s e t t l e m e n t s . S o l u t i o n s m i g h t be to l i m i t j u d i c i a l f reedom to 163 manoeuvre w i t h i n the s e t r a n g e , to u s e p r o p o r t i o n s r a t h e r than f i g u r e s 137 o r , as Wei tzman h e r s e l f s u g g e s t s , to s e t the r a n g e s h i g h e r . T h a t t h e r e m igh t be an e f f e c t s u c h as t h a t d e s c r i b e d by Wei tzman does n o t make g u i d e l i n e s u n d e s i r a b l e , b u t i t does emphas ise the i m p o r t a n c e o f m o n i t o r i n g f o r u n a n t i c i p a t e d c o n s e q u e n c e s . What s h o u l d be the s t a t u s o f the q u a n t i t a t i v e g u i d e l i n e s ? Is t h e r e to be a r e s i d u a l r o l e f o r j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n ? The t e m p t a t i o n i s to t r y to r e p r o d u c e the b e s t o f b o t h w o r l d s : e s t a b l i s h e d s t a n d a r d s w i t h the p o s s i b i l i t y o f a more f l e x i b l e a p p r o a c h i n the e x c e p t i o n a l c a s e . T h i s i s p r e s u m a b l y why S t a t e s have f a v o u r e d the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f g u i d e l i n e s w h i c h a r e presumed to a p p l y u n l e s s the p a r t i e s can show c a u s e why they s h o u l d n o t , o r p e r h a p s u n l e s s the c o u r t o f i t s own m o t i o n r e j e c t s the 138 outcome a c c o r d i n g to the g u i d e l i n e s . The argument i n f a v o u r o f a r e b u t t a b l e p r e s u m p t i o n t h a t x g u i d e l i n e s a p p l y i s t h a t an e s c a p e r o u t e i s p r o v i d e d when the r i g i d a p p l i c a t i o n o f the g u i d e l i n e s wou ld l e a d to an u n f a i r r e s u l t . W i l l i a m s c i t e s the t e r m i n a l i l l n e s s o f the p a y e r as an 139 e x c e p t i o n a l c i r c u m s t a n c e b u t , i f the g u i d e l i n e s take i n t o a c c o u n t the p a y e r ' s income and b a s i c n e e d s , i t i s n o t i m m e d i a t e l y o b v i o u s why t h i s c a s e s h o u l d be s e t a p a r t . More c o n v i n c i n g i s the example o f the t e e n a g e r who has l e f t s c h o o l and i s i n work b u t , h e r e a g a i n , s u r e l y t h e g u i d e l i n e i t s e l f c o u l d c o n t e m p l a t e the c h i l d ' s e a r n i n g s . I t i s n o t d i s p u t e d t h a t the n o t i o n o f l i m i t i n g j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n by i m p l e m e n t i n g g u i d e l i n e s makes i t l e s s l i k e l y t h a t the nuances o f the i n d i v i d u a l c a s e w i l l be r e f l e c t e d i n the r e s u l t . The q u e s t i o n i s w h e t h e r , h a v i n g removed the power o f the a d j u d i c a t o r to t a i l o r outcomes to p a r t i c u l a r c a s e s , the p o l i c y s h o u l d be b l u r r e d by r e t u r n i n g i t i n a d i f f e r e n t p a c k a g e , namely the power to d e t e r m i n e t h a t a c a s e i s o u t o f the o r d i n a r y . 164 140 O'Donnell recognises this problem i n commenting on the Oregon Supreme Court's d e c i s i o n i n Smith v Smith. Whilst providing a formula wth a view to promoting consistency i n the lower courts, the Supreme Court would allow f o r the modification of the r e s u l t i n the 142 l i g h t of p o l i c i e s enunciated i n e a r l i e r cases. Too ready a resort to those modifying factors undermines the purpose of the formula. How d i f f i c u l t w i l l i t be to rebut the presumption that the guidelines apply? D i f f e r e n t standards for this i n i t i a l hurdle can be envisaged. The adjudicator could be l e f t at large to designate cases as exceptional or there may be a standard of unfairness, perhaps with reference to a l i s t of f a c t o r s . The l a t t e r i s the scheme of s 51 of the 143 B r i t i s h Columbian Family Relations Act i n the d i f f e r e n t context of d i v i s i o n of matrimonial property. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that Anderson J.'s restrained approach to the use of his power to depart from the formula of equal d i v i s i o n of family assets i n Margolese v 144 145 Margolese was over-ruled on appeal in favour of a broad d i s c r e t i o n to d i v i d e the assets f a i r l y . The purpose of c i t i n g this example i s to suggest that i t would not be d i f f i c u l t f o r an a c t i v i s t j u d i c i a r y to bury the presumption that the guidelines apply simply by taking a l e n i e n t view of what constitutes exceptional circumstances or unfairness or whatever i n i t i a l hurdle i s put i n the path of the party seeking to depart from the prescribed course. This capacity of an unsympathetic j u d i c i a r y to undermine the purpose of implementing the guidelines leads to the conclusion that the guideline should be mandatory. No State i n 146 the USA has yet gone this f a r . Involved i n this conclusion i s the proposition that i t i s worth a r r i v i n g at some imperfect outcomes, which could have been improved upon by the judicious exercise of a r e s i d u a l 165 d i s c r e t i o n , i n order to preserve c l a r i t y of approach. The problem l i e s i n d e f i n i n g the degree of imperfection which can be tolerated i n the pursuit of a general c l a r i t y . Designing a guideline of universal a p p l i c a t i o n i s extremely problematic. In England, the simple one third 147 approach was rejected i n cases where the parties had very low incomes and has been disapproved of i n cases at the wealthier end of the 148 spectrum. In Oregon, the Supreme Court, i n putting forward a formula 149 based on a d i v i s i o n of costs of the c h i l d i n Smith v Smith, made i t clear that the formula was not designed to be applicable to cases i n which the Support Enforcement D i v i s i o n was seeking to recover funds disbursed by the State on welfare payments.* 5 0 In the l a t t e r cases, the Div i s i o n ' s own formula, based simply on a percentage of the non-custodial parent's earnings, remained appropriate.* 5* The courts must at l e a s t be conceded the leeway to depart from the guidelines i n the l i g h t of i t s other orders f o r f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f i n the p a r t i c u l a r case, though this deviation could i t s e l f be constrained by guidelines. For example, c a p i t a l could be n o t i o n a l l y converted to income and deducted from what would otherwise be the weekly entitlement. I f adjudicators are to have no scope to depart from the so l u t i o n dictated by the guidelines, are the parties themselves to be s i m i l a r l y limited? What i s the p o s i t i o n of an adjudicator who i s asked to approve a settlement which does not conform to the guidelines? The answer to these questions w i l l depend, e s p e c i a l l y i n low income cases, on the extent to which the i n t e r e s t of the State i n minimising i t s expenditure on the single parent family i s upheld. For example, i t may be considered contrary to p o l i c y to approve a settlement below the l e v e l d i c t a t e d by the guidelines, even when this would have no e f f e c t on the 166 s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y ' s Income, b e c a u s e to do so p e r m i t s m a i n t e n a n c e to become a p u b l i c l i a b i l i t y . The c o u r t m i g h t a l s o be tempted to i n t e r v e n e i f i t f e l t t h a t the s e t t l e m e n t p a i d i n s u f f i c i e n t heed to the c h i l d r e n ' s i n t e r e s t s , q u i t e a p a r t f r o m the i s s u e o f s t a t e e x p e n d i t u r e . I t i s a r g u e d t h a t to l i m i t the p a r t i e s to the s o l u t i o n d i c t a t e d by the g u i d e l i n e s would be u n j u s t i f i a b l y to c i r c u m s c r i b e the p r o c e s s o f n e g o t i a t i o n . I t i s p r e f e r a b l e t h a t m a t r i m o n i a l d i s p u t e s a r e r e s o l v e d by n e g o t i a t i o n b e c a u s e so much o f the p a r t i e s ' and the c o u r t ' s t ime and expenses can be saved and b e c a u s e a d h e r e n c e to an a r r a n g e m e n t w h i c h has n o t been imposed may be more l i k e l y . T h e r e f o r e , i t i s i m p o r t a n t to promote s e t t l e m e n t and to a l l o w the p a r t i e s t h e m s e l v e s to i n v e n t t h e i r own s o l u t i o n s to the p r o b l e m . I t may be a n o b s t a c l e to t h i s p r o c e s s to r e n d e r c e r t a i n i tems i n c a p a b l e o f n e g o t i a t i o n . G i v e n t h a t the p a r t i e s must have the f r e e d o m to n e g o t i a t e o u t s i d e the g u i d e l i n e s i n o r d e r to e n s u r e t h a t v o l u n t a r y s o l u t i o n s a r e promoted i n a l l c a s e s , the c o u r t must be g i v e n the power to e n d o r s e s e t t l e m e n t s w h i c h do n o t adhere to the g u i d e l i n e s . O t h e r w i s e , the n e g o t i a t i o n p r o c e s s i s t h w a r t e d . I s t h e r e a f l a w i n t h i s a p p r o a c h w h i c h p e r m i t s d e p a r t u r e f rom the g u i d e l i n e s o u t s i d e the p r o c e s s o f a d j u d i c a t i o n b u t n o t w i t h i n i t ? I f the a d j u d i c a t o r ' s a p p r o a c h to a p a r t i c u l a r i s s u e i s known w i t h i n a s m a l l m a r g i n f o r e r r o r , i s t h e r e any i n c e n t i v e to n e g o t i a t e a b o u t i t ? I t i s s u b m i t t e d t h a t i n c e n t i v e s to s e t t l e f o r l e s s t h a n the f i g u r e w h i c h i t i s known would be a c h i e v e d a t t r i a l c a n s t i l l e x i s t i f one p a r t y wants more o f a n o t h e r i t e m , f o r example the h o u s e . However , the p r o p r i e t y o f t h i s a p p r o a c h can be q u e s t i o n e d w i t h r e s p e c t to c h i l d m a i n t e n a n c e i f t h i s i t e m i s v iewed s e p a r a t e l y f r o m the t o t a l a c c u m u l a t e d by the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . T h i s d i s c u s s i o n i n v o l v e s a n o t h e r i s s u e , however , and 167 t h a t i s the b a s i c q u e s t i o n o f c o - o r d i n a t i n g the use o f f o r m u l a e f o r c a l c u l a t i n g c h i l d and p o s s i b l y s p o u s a l m a i n t e n a n c e w i t h the r e m a i n d e r o f the d i s c r e t i o n a r y f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f j u r i s d i c t i o n . 4» Who s h o u l d u s e the G u i d e l i n e s ? In the f i e l d o f t a x a t i o n , i t i s a c c e p t e d t h a t a s s e s s m e n t s to tax b a s e d on o f t e n complex f o r m u l a e w i l l be r e n d e r e d by the b u r e a u c r a c y o f the S t a t e r a t h e r than by a j u d i c i a l b o d y . The same goes f o r the a s s e s s m e n t o f e n t i t l e m e n t to s o c i a l s e c u r i t y a l l o w a n c e s . Once d i s c r e t i o n i s m a r g i n a l i s e d i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the a s s e s s m e n t o f s u p p o r t o b l i g a t i o n s , i s t h e r e any l o n g e r the need to k e e p i t a j u d i c i a l p r e s e r v e ? I t c a n c e r t a i n l y be a r g u e d t h a t the n a t u r e o f the e x e r c i s e makes i t b e t t e r s u i t e d to a d m i n i s t r a t i v e a c t i o n . The F i n e r Commit tee a d v o c a t e d a l l o c a t i n g the t a s k o f a s s e s s i n g m a i n t e n a n c e to the S u p p l e m e n t a r y B e n e f i t s Commiss ion w h i c h they c o n s i d e r e d ' b e t t e r s u i t e d i n the normal r u n to d i s c o v e r i n g the f a c t s r e g a r d i n g the f i n a n c e s and c i r c u m s t a n c e s o f 152 e a c h o f the p a r t i e s and mak ing c o n s i s t e n t d e c i s i o n s ' . T h e i r r e p o r t c i t e s the o t h e r w i s e u n r e p o r t e d d e c i s i o n o f P a y n e J . i n W i n t e r v W i n t e r 153 w h i c h i s to s i m i l a r e f f e c t . A l t h o u g h the c o u r t has p r o c e d u r e s f o r d i s c o v e r y o f d o c u m e n t s , they can p r o v e e x p e n s i v e to u s e when f a c e d w i t h a r e c a l c i t r a n t n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . T h i s l e a d s Payne J . to p r e f e r the Commiss ion w h i c h 'has o f f i c e r s s k i l l e d i n mak ing e n q u i r i e s and 154 f a c i l i t i e s f o r o b t a i n i n g r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n ' . The r e s e a r c h o f B a r r i n g t o n B a k e r e t a l a l s o c a s t s d o u b t on the e f f i c a c y o f j u d i c i a l p r o c e d u r e s f o r o b t a i n i n g r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n . * " ' " ' I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to n o t e i n the c o n t e x t o f e x t r a c t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n the p u n i t i v e p r o v i s i o n o f 168 s 60(2) o f the B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a F a m i l y R e l a t i o n s A c t whereby the c o u r t i s a u t h o r i s e d to o r d e r up to $5 ,000 f o r the b e n e f i t o f the a p p l i c a n t i f a r e q u e s t f o r d i s c l o s u r e i s n o t c o m p l i e d w i t h r e a s o n a b l y . T h i s p r o v i s i o n i s a r e c o g n i t i o n o f the need to f o s t e r the e x p e d i t i o u s d i s p o s a l o f m a t r i m o n i a l p r o c e e d i n g s a n d , to pu t the p o i n t a n o t h e r way, an acknowledgement o f the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t a p p l i c a n t s f o r s u p p o r t can be worn down by p r o c e d u r a l b a t t l e s p r i o r to the d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f t h e i r a p p l i c a t i o n s f o r s u p p o r t . A f u r t h e r r e a s o n why a d m i n i s t r a t i v e a g e n c i e s may be b e t t e r s u i t e d to the task i s t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e to c o n c e i v e o f the a s s e s s m e n t as s i m p l y the f i r s t s t a g e i n the i n t e g r a t e d p r o c e s s o f t r a c i n g the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t and e n f o r c i n g the a w a r d . I f t h e r e i s an e n f o r c e m e n t a g e n c y , i t may be t h o u g h t w a s t e f u l n o t to u s e r e s o u r c e s a l r e a d y i n p l a c e f o r the p u r p o s e s o f a s s e s s m e n t . F o r example , the p r o c e s s o f d e t e r m i n i n g the r a t e a t w h i c h a r r e a r s a r e to be r e d u c e d i n v o l v e s s i m i l a r e x e r c i s e s to the p r o c e s s o f a s s e s s i n g the o r d e r i n the f i r s t p l a c e . The d e f a u l t e r ' s income has to be a s c e r t a i n e d and p r e s e n t o b l i g a t i o n s p r i o r i t i s e d . A l l o c a t i n g the task o f a s s e s s m e n t to s u c h an a g e n c y may n o t be to h e r a l d r a d i c a l r e f o r m a t i o n o f the a g e n c y f o r the means to p e r f o r m the t a s k may a l r e a d y be l a r g e l y i n p l a c e , e s p e c i a l l y i f the g u i d e l i n e i s r e l a t i v e l y s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d . What i s t h e r e to be s a i d a g a i n s t a t r a n s f e r o f f u n c t i o n s , i f i t i s a c c e p t e d t h a t a b u r e a u c r a c y i s c a p a b l e o f u s i n g the p a r t i c u l a r g u i d e l i n e ? In the c a s e o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t whose payments w i l l s i m p l y d i m i n i s h the e x p e n d i t u r e o f the S t a t e on the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y , i t s h o u l d be welcome t h a t the p r o c e d u r e would be c o n s i d e r a b l y s i m p l i f i e d , the number o f a g e n c i e s i n v o l v e d d i m i n i s h e d and the i n t e r e s t 169 o f the S t a t e i n r e i m b u r s i n g i t s e l f made e x p l i c i t . T h i s p r o c e s s i s the p r i v a t i s a t i o n o f the S t a t e ' s r o l e as m a i n t a i n e r o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . The c i r c u m s t a n c e s a r e n o t so s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d when the g u i d e l i n e s o p e r a t e so t h a t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t has to pay an amount i n e x c e s s o f the S t a t e ' s e x p e n d i t u r e . E e k e l a a r i s r i g h t to c a u t i o n a g a i n s t ' [ t ] h e h a r n e s s i n g o f b u r e a u c r a t i c power on the s i d e o f one p a r t y i n a d i s p u t e o v e r p r i v a t e r i g h t s ' . * " ' 7 What i s the a g e n c y ' s i n t e r e s t i n d o i n g more than e n s u r i n g t h a t i t i s r e i m b u r s e d ? The i s s u e t u r n s on the d e g r e e to w h i c h the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t i s to be s u b j e c t to the e x e r c i s e o f d i s c r e t i o n , n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f the g u i d e l i n e s . I f the g u i d e l i n e s a r e manda to ry and c a n n o t be d e v i a t e d f r o m , i t c a n n o t m a t t e r who makes the c a l c u l a t i o n . The l e g i s l a t u r e has a l r e a d y e s t a b l i s h e d a r i g i d f ramework . However , i f t h e r e i s o n l y a r e b u t t a b l e p r e s u m p t i o n t h a t the g u i d e l i n e s a p p l y o r i f they a r e m e r e l y a d v i s o r y , t h e r e i s s c o p e f o r the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t to a r g u e t h a t the a p p l i c a t i o n o f the g u i d e l i n e s i s i n e q u i t a b l e . In these c i r c u m s t a n c e s i t m i g h t be t h o u g h t h a r s h to p l a c e the onus o f p u t t i n g the m a t t e r b e f o r e the c o u r t on the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . In an argument between two p r i v a t e p a r t i e s , a S t a t e a g e n c y a d o p t s a p a r t i a l p o s i t i o n . I t w i l l be o b s e r v e d t h a t t h i s p o i n t d o e s n o t have the same f o r c e when the d i s p u t a n t s a r e the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t and the S t a t e f o r i n t h i s c a s e the S t a t e has i t s own f i n a n c i a l i n t e r e s t to p r o t e c t . I s i t i m p o r t a n t to d i s t i n g u i s h between t h o s e c a s e s where the S t a t e a c t s on i t s own b e h a l f and t h o s e where i t i s a c t i n g on the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s b e h a l f f o r the p u r p o s e o f d e c i d i n g w h e t h e r the f u n c t i o n o f a s s e s s m e n t s h o u l d be c a r r i e d o u t a d m i n i s t r a t i v e l y ? I f the g u i d e l i n e s 170 a r e n o t to be m a n d a t o r y , the b e s t way to p r e s e r v e the e v e n - h a n d e d n e s s o f the S t a t e i s to o b l i g e the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e a g e n c y to t r a n s f e r to the c o u r t s any c a s e s where i t does n o t t h i n k the g u i d e l i n e s h o u l d a p p l y , b u t the b u r e a u c r a t s s h o u l d have no power to d e p a r t f r o m the g u i d e l i n e s i n t h e i r d e t e r m i n a t i o n s . The n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s h o u l d a l s o be a b l e to a p p l y f o r a c o m p l e t e r e - h e a r i n g i n the c o u r t s on the ground t h a t the g u i d e l i n e s s h o u l d n o t have been a p p l i e d . I t i s n o t b e l i e v e d t h a t p l a c i n g the onus on the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t to do t h i s i s u n d u l y p r e j u d i c i a l . The o t h e r p r i n c i p a l argument a g a i n s t t r a n s f e r r i n g a s s e s s m e n t o f s u p p o r t to an a d m i n i s t r a t i v e agency i s t h a t i t would f ragment and d i s r u p t the d e c i s i o n - m n a k i n g p r o c e s s i n f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f a p p l i c a t i o n s i n w h i c h m a t r i m o n i a l p r o p e r t y and lump sum p r o v i s i o n a r e i n i s s u e . In a r e a s w i t h h i g h r a t e s o f owner o c c u p a t i o n o f h o u s i n g , t h i s i s an e s p e c i a l l y c o g e n t a r g u m e n t . T h e r e w i l l , o f c o u r s e , s t i l l be many c a s e s i n w h i c h t h e r e i s no p r o p e r t y i n v o l v e d and lump sums, w h e t h e r used to s e t o f f uneven p r o p e r t y s e t t l e m e n t s o r as a c a p i t a l i s a t i o n o f an a d m i t t e d m a i n t e n a n c e e n t i t l e m e n t , a r e o u t o f the q u e s i o n due to l a c k o f c a p i t a l . In t h e s e c a s e s , the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e agency w i l l d e a l w i t h the e n t i r e t y o f the f i n a n c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between the f o r m e r s p o u s e s and between them and the S t a t e . Does any p r o b l e m a r i s e i f the f o r m u l a i s c o n c e r n e d o n l y w i t h c h i l d m a i n t e n a n c e ? In t h i s s i t u a t i o n , i t can be a rgued t h a t the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e a g e n c y i s n o t d e a l i n g a t a l l w i t h the f i n a n c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between the fo rmer s p o u s e s b u t w i t h the s e p a r a t e q u e s t i o n o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s l i a b i l i t y to the c h i l d r e n . C o n s e q u e n t l y , the a g e n c y ' s d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f the l e v e l o f p e r i o d i c a l payments can 171 s i m p l y be t a c k e d o n t o the s e t t l e m e n t between the s p o u s e s . I f t h i s were 158 the c a s e , ' t h e t o t a l f i n a n c i a l b a l a n c e between the p a r t i e s ' would n o t r e c e i v e c o n s i d e r a t i o n as an e n t i r e t y u n l e s s the c h i l d m a i n t e n a n c e had b e e n worked o u t f i r s t . T h i s , i n f a c t , i s what w i l l happen i n the m a j o r i t y o f c a s e s f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y w i l l need income i m m e d i a t e l y t h a t the s e p a r a t i o n t a k e s p l a c e whereas p r o p e r t y p r o v i s i o n i s n o t o f s u c h immediate c o n c e r n . T h e r e f o r e , by the t ime p r o p e r t y comes to be n e g o t i a t e d , the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s l i a b i l i t y to the c h i l d r e n , o r to r e i m b u r s e the S t a t e , w i l l be known and the needs o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s h o u s e h o l d a s s e s s e d i n the l i g h t o f i t . T h i s wou ld go some way towards c u r i n g the a r t i f i c i a l i t y i n h e r e n t i n the s y s t e m p r o p o s e d w h i c h makes a f o r m a l and p r o c e d u r a l d i s t i n c t i o n between the needs o f d i f f e r e n t members o f the same h o u s e h o l d . H a r r i s , McDonald and Weston wou ld c r i t i c i s e t h i s a p p r o a c h f o r f a i l i n g to g i v e s u f f i c i e n t p rominence to the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t the 159 c h i l d r e n ' s needs w i l l be r e c o g n i s e d i n the p r o p e r t y s e t t l e m e n t . T h e i r need f o r l o n g - t e r m r e s i d e n t i a l s e c u r i t y m igh t be acknowledged by t r a n s f e r r i n g the m a t r i m o n i a l home to the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t , f o r e x a m p l e . C o n s e q u e n t l y , they u r g e t h a t the f o r m u l a f o r c h i l d s u p p o r t s h o u l d take i n t o a c c o u n t i m b a l a n c e s i n p r o p e r t y d i s t r i b u t i o n d e s i g n e d to p r o v i d e f o r the c h i l d r e n i n o r d e r t h a t p a r t i e s a r e n o t d i s c o u r a g e d f r o m a r r i v i n g a t s u c h s e t t l e m e n t s . * ^ I n t h i s way, t h r o u g h p r o v i s i o n i n the f o r m u l a i t s e l f , a l i n k i s f o r g e d between the outcomes o f the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e and j u d i c i a l p r o c e s s e s . However , i f the c h i l d m a i n t e n a n c e i s f i x e d f i r s t , r u l e s o f c o u r t would have to p e r m i t the c o u r t to r e f e r the m a t t e r back to the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e a g e n c y i n the l i g h t o f the p r o p e r t y s e t t l e m e n t o r , a l t e r n a t i v e l y , a l l o w the c o u r t to r e - a p p l y the f o r m u l a a f t e r i t has 172 d e c i d e d the p r o p e r t y i s s u e s . As the F i n e r Committee p o i n t e d o u t , t h e s e c o n s i d e r a t i o n s ' c a l l f o r c l o s e l i a i s o n between the c o u r t and the a u t h o r i t y ' . * 6 * P r o b l e m s ' o f m a c h i n e r y , n o t p r i n c i p l e ' * 6 ^ they may b e , b u t the p o t e n t i a l f o r a d m i n i s t r a t i v e c h a o s , l o s t f i l e s , d e l a y s i n t r a n s f e r r i n g f i l e s f r o m one body to the o t h e r , i s r e a d i l y a p p a r e n t . U n l e s s the m a c h i n e r y i s i n p l a c e and w e l l o i l e d , the t r a n s f e r o f j u r i s d i c t i o n o v e r c h i l d s u p p o r t f r o m c o u r t to a d m i n i s t r a t i v e a g e n c y , e s p e c i a l l y where the f o r m u l a to be a p p l i e d has the r e f i n e m e n t s s u g g e s t e d 163 by H a r r i s , McDonald and W e s t o n , may e f f e c t no g r e a t improvements i n e f f i c i e n c y o v e r the p r e s e n t s y s t e m i n w h i c h the c o u r t s and the s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e a u t h o r i t i e s may e x e r c i s e a d u p l i c a t e d j u r i s d i c t i o n . 164 As the F i n e r R e p o r t d e m o n s t r a t e s , p r o b l e m s o f c o - o r d i n a t i o n between p e r i o d i c a l payments on the one hand and c a p i t a l sums and m a t r i m o n i a l p r o p e r t y o n the o t h e r wou ld become more a c u t e i f the f o r m u l a was d e s i g n e d to d e a l w i t h s p o u s a l m a i n t e n a n c e i n a d d i t i o n . The new v a r i a b l e o f g u a r a n t e e d m a i n t e n a n c e a l l o w a n c e p r o p o s e d by the F i n e r Commit tee c o n s i s t s o f a l l o w a n c e s f o r e a c h c h i l d and a c h i l d - c a r e a l l o w a n c e f o r the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . * 6 5 I t i s n o t i c e a b l e t h a t the R e p o r t i s q u i t e s a n g u i n e a b o u t the p o s s i b i l i t y o f a l u c i d c o - o r d i n a t i o n b e i n g a c h i e v e d when the a b s e n t p a r e n t ' s l i a b i l i t y goes beyond making 166 p e r i o d i c a l p a y m e n t s . I t i s s u g g e s t e d t h a t the c a p i t a l r e c e i v e d by the s i n g l e p a r e n t , whe ther by way o f lump sum o r t r a n s f e r o f p r o p e r t y , c o u l d be n o t i o n a l l y c o n v e r t e d to income and the w e e k l y payments by the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t r e d u c e d by the same a m o u n t . * 6 7 A l t e r n a t i v e l y , the c o u r t o r the p a r t i e s c o u l d take i n t o a c c o u n t the s t a t e b e n e f i t , the g u a r a n t e e d m a i n t e n a n c e a l l o w a n c e , and r e d u c e i t , b u t n o t i n c r e a s e i t , i n 168 the l i g h t o f the c a p i t a l p r o v i s i o n . The l a t t e r s u g g e s t i o n would seem 173 to prejudice the achievement of cert a i n t y i n q u a n t i f i c a t i o n of income f o r the si n g l e parent family and i s also novel i n so far as i t concerns bargaining for a State b e n e f i t . 169 I t i s i n this context that Eekelar's c r i t i c i s m of the Finer R e p o r t 1 7 ^ i s best understood: 'It i s possible that a too single-minded concentration on the problems of one-parent f a m i l i e s dependent on s o c i a l s ecurity blurred the Committee's v i s i o n s l i g h t l y when considering the impact of their proposals on the divorce process.' 171 For the Finer Committee: 'the standard s i t u a t i o n i s , and so far as we can see ahead w i l l remain, one i n which the need would be only for an o f f s e t of [guaranteed maintenance allowance] against maintenance.' 172 Perhaps i t i s now an equally standard s i t u a t i o n for the couple to own a house with a small equity, perhaps, i n B r i t a i n , purchased from the l o c a l authority from which they previously rented i t , and for the wage-earner to be anxious to buy out the custodial parent's claims by r a i s i n g a lump sum on the strength of the already mortgaged property. The problem of achieving a coherent f i n a l r e s u l t from the d i v i s i o n of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y between the executive and the j u d i c i a r y w i l l a r i s e as a matter of routine. There are benefits which i t i s hard to quantify, for example the r i g h t to continue to occupy the matrimonial home during the children's minority. How accurately can the value of an uneven property settlement be assessed In terms of weekly income? Should d i s t i n c t i o n s be drawn between cash and income producing assets on the one hand and assets l i k e the matrimonial home which are bound up with other l i a b i l i t i e s and add nothing to the single parent's weekly resources? I t i s concluded that the problems of co-ordination within each i n d i v i d u a l a p p l i c a t i o n for 174 f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f a r e so g r e a t t h a t the p r o p o s a l to t r a n s f e r a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f a g u i d e l i n e f o r c a l c u l a t i n g s p o u s a l m a i n t e n a n c e f rom the c o u r t s to an a d m i n i s t r a t i v e agency s h o u l d be abandoned as i m p r a c t i c a l and l i k e l y to r e s u l t i n u n c e r t a i n t y o f outcome and u n n e c e s s a r y d e l a y . Any g u i d e l i n e s f o r c a l c u l a t i n g s p o u s a l m a i n t e n a n c e s h o u l d be used by the c o u r t s . I f the d i s t i n c t i o n between s p o u s a l and c h i l d m a i n t e n a n c e i s n o t abandoned i n f a v o u r o f some f o r m o f h o u s e h o l d s u p p o r t w h i c h comprehends a l l members o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y , i t may be p o s s i b l e s u c c e s s f u l l y to t r a n s f e r the a s s e s s m e n t o f c h i l d m a i n t e n a n c e to an a d m i n i s t r a t i v e a g e n c y . T h i s w i l l become a s t e a d i l y more v i a b l e p r o p o s i t i o n i f o r d e r s f o r s p o u s a l m a i n t e n a n c e o f i n d e f i n i t e d u r a t i o n become r a r e r , f o r t h e r e would then be one l e s s v a r i a b l e w i t h w h i c h the f o r m u l a would have to c o - o r d i n a t e w i t h i n the t o t a l i t y o f the s e t t l e m e n t . 5• C o n c l u d i n g Remarks The r e p l a c e m e n t o f the d i s c r e t i o n a r y j u r i s d i c t i o n f o r s e t t i n g l e v e l s o f s u p p o r t may be a d v o c a t e d f rom a s t a n d p o i n t o f d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the i n e f f i c i e n c y o f the p r e s e n t s y s t e m , i t s p r o p e n s i t y f o r 173 i n c o n s i s t e n c y and the i n a d e q u a t e o r d e r s i t g e n e r a t e s . As 174 The F i n e r R e p o r t i l l u s t r a t e s , the l i m i t i n g o f j u d i c i a l d i s c r e t i o n i n t h i s f i e l d can form p a r t o f a p o l i c y w h i c h a d v o c a t e s a g r e a t e r r o l e f o r the S t a t e i n s u p p o r t i n g s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . A l t e r n a t i v e l y , as w i t h the US C h i l d S u p p o r t E n f o r c e m e n t A m e n d m e n t s , * 7 5 the d o m i n a n t p h i l o s o p h y may be to p r i v a t i s e the s u p p o r t o b l i g a t i o n and to d e t e r m i n e how the economic expenses o f the s e p a r a t i o n a r e to be s h a r e d . L e g i s l a t u r e s a n d , i f p e r m i t t e d , the c o u r t s can e l a b o r a t e upon the m a l l e a b l e p r i n c i p l e t h a t g u i d e l i n e s f o r c o n s i s t e n t a d j u d i c a t i o n a r e to be e s t a b l i s h e d . 175 W i t h o u t t h i s e l a b o r a t i o n , however , the o n l y b e n e f i t s w h i c h the s i n g l e p a r e n t o b t a i n s a r e r e l a t i v e c e r t a i n t y o f outcome and the knowledge t h a t the c a s e has been t r e a t e d i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h the e s t a b l i s h e d p r i n c i p l e s , no d i f f e r e n t l y f r o m anybody e l s e ' s c a s e . The g u i d e l i n e s c a n n n o t a s s i s t the members o f the f o r m e r l y i n t a c t h o u s e h o l d to overcome the u n a v o i d a b l e economic l o s s e s c o n s e q u e n t upon d i v o r c e : the d u p l i c a t i o n o f e x p e n s e s ; i n many c a s e s , the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s s o l e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f the c h i l d r e n w h i c h a f f e c t s h e r employment p r o s p e c t s . I f they a r e n o t supp lemented by S t a t e income s u p p o r t programmes, g u i d e l i n e s a r e a t b e s t s e l e c t i n g a n a p p r o p r i a t e d i s t r i b u t i o n o f the economic h a r d s h i p o f d i v o r c e and perhaps s e e k i n g a g r e a t e r e q u i t y o f economic f o r t u n e s t h a n , f o r e x a m p l e , Wei tzman i d e n t i f i e d i n 1 76 C a l i f o r n i a o r the A u s t r a l i a n I n s t i t u t e f o r F a m i l y S t u d i e s i d e n t i f i e d i n V i c t o r i a . * 7 7 F o r t h o s e who d o u b t the s u f f i c i e n c y o f a v a i l a b l e r e s o u r c e s , no m a t t e r how r e f i n e d the p r o c e s s o f a d j u d i c a t i o n and how e f f i c i e n t the p r o c e s s o f e n f o r c e m e n t , g u i d e l i n e s i n t h e m s e l v e s a r e no c u r e f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y ' s f i n a n c i a l i l l s . N e i t h e r would the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f g u i d e l i n e s a d d r e s s the p r o b l e m o f the numbers o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s whose needs a r e n e v e r a d j u d i c a t e d upon by the c o u r t s b e c a u s e the s i n g l e p a r e n t s a r e , f o r one r e a s o n o r a n o t h e r , d i s c o u r a g e d f r o m mak ing a p p l i c a t i o n . However , g u i d e l i n e s do o f f e r the p r o s p e c t o f a s o l u t i o n to the p r o b l e m o f the d e v a l u a t i o n o f o r d e r s w i t h t ime f o r much o f the u n c e r t a i n t y and expense o f v a r i a t i o n p r o c e e d i n g s c o u l d be e l i m i n a t e d by u s i n g the g u i d e l i n e s to r e v i e w the p r e s e n t s u f f i c i e n c y o f the o r i g i n a l o r d e r . 176 Footnotes 1. M. Takas, Child Support (Harper and Row 1985) p 13. 2. P. B a r t r i p , 'An H i s t o r i c a l Account of the Evolution of the Registrars' J u r i s d i c t i o n i n Matrimonial Cases', Appendix A to W. Barrington Baker, J . Eekelaar, C. Gibson and S. Raikes, The Matrimonial J u r i s d i c t i o n of Registrars (Oxford: SSRC 1977) para 10. 3. B a r t r i p , supra, footnote 2, para 11. 4. Rules and Regulations f o r Her Majesty's Court f o r Divorce and Matrimonial Proceedings, nos 101 and 102. 5. Rules and Regulations, supra, footnote 4, no.191. 6. Matrimonial Causes Rules 1924, r 69. 7. Rules of Supreme Court, Order XXXVa. 8. B a r t r i p , supra, footnote 2, paras 14-20. 9. Supra, footnote 2, para 12. 10. See, for further explanation of the s p e c i a l procedure, B.M. Hoggett and D.S. Pe a r l , The Family, Law and Society (2nd ed) (London: Butterworths 1987) pp 199-202. 11. Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s 41. 12. 33-34-35 E l i z II c 4. 13. Supra, footnote 2, paras 23 and 24. 14. Supra, footnote 2, paras 16 and 17. 15. Parliamentary Papers 1946-7, v o l XIII, Cmnd 7024, p 208. 16. Parliamentary Papers 1945-6, v o l XIII, Cmnd 6945, p 802. I 7 * Supra, footnote 2, para 17. 18. (1939)6 Law and Contemporary Problems 213. 19. Loc. c i t . . 20. Supra, footnote 18, pp 183-320. 21. Barrington Baker et a l , supra, footnote 2. 177 22. Supra, footnote 2, para 3.30. 23• Loc. c i t . . 24. Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s 25(1) prior to i t s amendment by the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. 25. Supra, footnote 2, para 2.2. 26. M. Finer and O.R. McGregor, 'The History of the Obligation to Maintain', Appendix 5 to The Report on the Committee on One  Parent Families (Finer Report) Cmnd 5629 (London: HMSO 1974) para 26. 27. P.M. Bromley and N.V. Lowe, Family Law (London: Butterworths 1987) p 689. 28. [1973] Fam 72. 2 9 * JEliEE3.* footnote 28 at p95. 30. [1977] 3 A l l ER 957. 31. [1982] 3 A l l ER 321. 32. Supra, footnote 31 at p 326. 33. Supra, fotnote 31 at p 324. 34. (1986) 16 Family Law 129. 35. Loc. c i t . . 36. (1986) 16 Family Law 335. 37. Loc. c i t . 38. Barrington Baker et a l , Supra, footnote 2, para 3.28. 3 9 * Sjapra, footnote 2, para 3.29. 40. Supra, footnote 2, Table 9. 41* 8u_pr_a_, footnote 28. 42. [1966] P 52. ^3* Supra, footnote 42 at p 55. ^ * Sjupra> footnote 2, para 2.27. 45. [1972] 3A11 ER 872. 178 46. There are signs that the courts are shifting their ground somewhat in the light of their duty to sever the parties' financial relationship as soon as possible. See Ashley v Blackman (1988) 18 Family Law 430. 47. Supra, footnote 2, Table 2. 48. Supra, footnote 2, para 2.6. 49. Rodewald v Rodewald [1977] 2 WLR 191. 50. Supra, footnote 2, para 2.10. 5 1 * Supra, footnote 28 at p 90. 52 • Supra, footnote 2, para 2.22. 53. Supra, footnote 2, paras 2.22-2.23. 54. Supra, footnote 2, para 3.30. 55. Supra, footnote 26. 56. See P. Snow, 'Ashley v Blackman and the L i a b i l i t y to Maintain' (1989) 133 Solicitors' Journal 206. 57. Finer Report, supra, footnote 26, para 4.108. 58. Supra, footnote 2. 59. Supra, footnote 2, Table 10. It is not absolutely clear whether this includes reviews of settlements or only contested hearings. 60. Supra, footnote 2, para 4.6. 6l» Supra, footnote 2, para 4.9. 62. Supra, footnote 2, Table 13. 63. Supra, footnote 2, para 4.18. 64. L.M. Yee, 'What really happens in Child Support Cases' (1979) 57 Denver Law Journal 21. 65. Supra, footnote 64 at pp 25-37. 66. Supra, footnote 64 at p 37. 67. Supra, footnote 64 at p 38. 68. Loc. c i t . . 69« Supra, footnote 64 at p 27. 179 70. Supra, footnote 64 at P 29. 71. Supra, footnote 64 at P 30. 72. Supra, footnote 64 at P 34. 73. Supra, footnote 64 at P 27. 74. Supra, footnote 64 at P 25. 75. K.R. White and R.T. . Stone, Rulings with some Recommendations* (1976) 10 FL<_) 75. 76. Supra, footnote 75 at p 83. 77. Loc. c i t . . 78. Loc. c i t . . 79. Supra, footnote 2. 80. I t w i l l be r e c a l l e d that the objective was broadly to place the parties i n the p o s i t i o n they would have been i n had the marrige continued: Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s 25(1) as o r i g i n a l l y enacted. Supra, footnote 2, para 3.30. 82. Supra, footnote 64 at p 50. 83. Supra, footnote 75 at pp 83-84. 84. S. Wexler, 'Discretion: the unacknowledged side of law' (1975) 25 U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Law Journal 120 at p 153. 8 5 * Supra t footnote 84 at p 149. 86. Supra, footnote 84 at p 135. 87. [1948] 1 A l l ER 343 at 345. 88. Wexler, sup_ra, footnote 84 a t p 153. 89. P u b l i c Law No 98-378 (42 U.S.C. para 667). 90. Supra, footnote 26, para 4.90. 91* Supra, footnote 26, para 4.217. 92. M. H a r r i s , P. McDonald and R. Weston, 'Payment of Child Maintenance i n A u s t r a l i a ' (1987) 1 International Journal of Law and the Family 92 at p 119. 180 93. C. Cockburn and H. Heclo, 'Income Maintenance for One-Parent Families i n other Countries', Appendix 3 to The Finer Report, supra, footnote 26, para 138. 9 4 . Supra, footnote 93, para 139. 95. Supra, footnote 1 at p 14. 96. Supra, footnote 2, para 2.6. 97. R.G. Williams, 'Guidelines for s e t t i n g Levels of C h i l d Support Orders' (1987) 21 FL£ 281 at p 317. 98. Loc. c i t . . " * Supra, footnote 97 at p 320. 100. Loc. c i t v 101. D.L. Chambers, Making Fathers Pay (Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago 1979) p 40. 102. Loc. c i t . . 103. Chambers, supra, footnote 101 at p 41. 104. T . J . Espenshade, Investing i n Children (Washington D.C.: The Urban I n s t i t u t e 1984) p 8. 105. Loc.jcit._. 106. Supra, footnote 104 at p 6. 107. L . J . Weitzman, The Divorce Revolution (New York: Free Press 1985) p 271. 108. I n f r a , Section 4 of this chapter, 'Who would use the Guidelines?'. 109. A. Giampetro, 'Mathematical Approaches to c a l c u l a t i n g C h i l d Support Payments' (1986/87) 20 FLq 373 at p 381. 110. Supra, footnote 101 at p 45. 111. K.R. White and R.T. Stone, 'Consumer Unit S c a l i n g as an Aid i n equitably determining Need under Maintenance and Child Support Decrees' (1979/80) 13 JL£ 231. 112. B. Bergmann, 'Setting Appropriate Levels of C h i l d Support Payments' i n J . Cassetty, ed, The Parental Child Support Obligation (Lexington: Lexington 1983) p 115 at p 117. 113. Supra, footnote 109, p 378 at her footnote 30. 181 114. M.R. Franks, 'How to c a l c u l a t e Child Support' (1981) 86 Case and Com 3. 115. Supra, footnote 112. 116. Supra, footnote 109. 117. Supra, footnote 112. 118. Supra, footnote 111. 119. Supra, footnote 111 at pp 245-246. 120. C.S. Bruch, 'Developing Normative Standards f o r Child-Support Payments' i n Cassetty, ed, supra, footnote 112, p 119 at p 125. 121. Supra, footnote 104 at p 2. 122. Supra, footnote 104 a t p 3. 123. Williams, su_pra, footnote 97 a t p 290. 124. Wisconsin Stat. Ann. 767.25. 125. I l l i n o i s Ann. Stat, ch 40, para 505. 126. J . Cassetty, 'Emerging Issues i n Child-Support P o l i c y and P r a c t i c e ' i n Cassetty, ed, supra, footnote 112, p 3 at p 6. 127. Supra, footnote 107 at p 269. 128. I.V. Sawhill, 'Developing Normative Standards f o r Child-Support Payments' i n Cassetty, ed, supra, footnote 112, p 79 at p 80. 129. Supra, footnote 128 a t pp 80-81. 130. See Bergmann, supra footnote 112 at p 115. 131. Bergmann, supra, footnote 112 at p 116. 132. M. Maclean and J.M. Eekelaar, 'The F i n a n c i a l Consequences of Divorce' i n M. Brenton and C. Ungerson, eds, The Year Book of So c i a l J * ^ ^ 1985-6 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul 1986) p 42 at p 46 discussing the E n g l i s h Law Commission's dis c u s s i o n paper No 103, 'The F i n a n c i a l Consequences of Divorce: The Basic P o l i c y * , Cmnd 8041 (London: HMSO 1980). 133. See Williams' discussion, supra, footnote 97 a t pp 295-301. 134. Supra, footnote 97 at p 268. 135. Loc. c i t . . 136. Loc. c i t . . 182 137. Loc. c i t . . 138. Williams, supra, foootnote 97 at p 313. 139. Supra, footnote 97 at p 312. 140. M. O'Donnell, 'Smith v Smith' (1982) 18 Willamette Law Review 353. 141. (1981) 626 P(2d) 342. 142. O'Donnell, supra, footnote 140 at pp 353 and 359. 143. RSBC 1979 c 121. 144. [1980] 2 WWR 723 at p 745. 145. 24 RFL (2d) 176, e s p e c i a l l y per Hinkson JA a t p 182. 146. Williams, supra, footnote 97 at p 312. 147. Cann v Cann, supra, footnote 30. 148. Potter v Potter, supra, footnote 31. 149. Supra, footnote 141. 150. Supra, footnote 141 at pp 345-346. 151. Loc. c i t . . 152. Supra, footnote 26, para 5.185. 153. Supra, footnote 26, para 4.104. 154. I b i d . 155. Supra, footnote 2, Chapter 4, Part A, passim. 156. Supra, footnote 143. 157. J.M. Eekelaar, 'Public Law and Priv a t e Rights: the Finer Poposals' [1976] Pub l i c Law 63 at p 72. 158. Loc. c i t . . 159. Supra, footnote 92 at pp 113-114. 160. Sjupra, footnote 92 at p 114. 161. _Sj_i£ra, footnote 26, para 5.211. 162. Loc. c i t . 183 163. Supra, footnote 92 at p 114. 164. Supra, footnote 26, paras 5.234-5.247. 165. Supra, footnote 26, para 5.104. 166. Supra, footnote 26, para 5 .247. 167. Supra, footnote 26, paras 5.240-5.242. 168. Supra footnote 26, paras 5.243-5.245. 169. Supra, footnote 157. 170. Supra, footnote 26. 171. Supra, footnote 157 at p 63. 172. Supra, footnote 26, para 5.246. 173. This is Williams' approach to the need for reform, supra, footnote 97. 174. Supra, footnote 26. 175. Supra, footnote 89. 176. Supra, footnote 107 at pp 337-340. 177. R.E. Weston, 'Changes in Household Income Circumstances' in P. McDonald, Settling; Up (Sydney: Prentice-Hall 1986) pp 114-117. 184 CHAPTER 6 THE MAINTENANCE OF THE SINGLE PARENT FAMILY AS A COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY I n t h i s c h a p t e r , the argument t h a t the community as a who le s h o u l d be e x c l u s i v e l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the m a i n t e n a n c e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y w i l l be i n v e s t i g a t e d . The r a t i o n a l e f o r a l l o c a t i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to the S t a t e and f o r e m a n c i p a t i n g members o f the f o r m e r h o u s e h o l d w i l l be e x p l o r e d b u t , i n p u t t i n g f o r w a r d t h e s e a r g u m e n t s , an e f f o r t w i l l be made to remove the v e n e e r o f r a d i c a l i s m and to emphas ise how f a r some W e s t e r n c o u n t r i e s have a l r e a d y moved towards a c c e p t i n g p r i m a r y r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the w e l f a r e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . I t c o u l d be a r g u e d t h a t the S t a t e a l r e a d y has p r i m a r y r e s p o n s i b l i t y i n a l l b u t t h e o r y and t h a t the r e a l q u e s t i o n i s whe ther r e s p o n s i b l i t y s h o u l d be moved once a g a i n to the members o f the f o r m e r f a m i l y u n i t t h e m s e l v e s , o r whether p r e s e n t p r a c t i c e s h o u l d be f o r m a l i s e d and f o r m e r members o f the h o u s e h o l d e x p l i c i t l y a b s o l v e d f r o m r e s p o n s i b l i t y f o r t r a n s f e r r i n g i n c o m e . I n the f i r s t p l a c e , two p r i n c i p a l a rguments p u t f o r w a r d by t h o s e who a d o p t the p o s i t i o n t h a t m a i n t e n a n c e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y s h o u l d be an e x c l u s i v e l y p u b l i c c o n c e r n w i l l be c o n s i d e r e d . The f i r s t i s e s s e n t i a l l y t h a t s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d has no s p e c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s to d i s t i n g u i s h i t f r o m any o f the o t h e r v i c i s s i t u d e s o f l i f e w i t h w h i c h the S t a t e c o n c e r n s i t s e l f . The second argument e m p h a s i s e s the i m p o s s i b i l i t y o f p r e s e r v i n g d e p e n d e n c i e s i n the l i g h t o f c h a n g i n g f a m i l y p a t t e r n s , w h i c h a r e to some d e g r e e r e l a t e d to the S t a t e ' s own l e g i s l a t i v e a c t i o n s w i t h r e s p e c t to d i s s o l u t i o n o f m a r r i a g e . 185 1 . S i n g l e P a r e n t h o o d as a y i c l s s l t u d e o f L i f e I n 1968 , P r o f e s s o r Brown was p r e p a r e d to p r e d i c t t h a t : ' b y the y e a r 2000 the law w i l l have abandoned as s o c i a l l y u n d e s i r a b l e , f r e q u e n t l y i n e f f e c t u a l and w h o l l y uneconomic the h o u n d i n g o f s p o u s e s t h r o u g h the c o u r t s f o r n o n - s u p p o r t o f t h e i r f a m i l i e s . N o n - s u p p o r t by s p o u s e o r p a r e n t w i l l be ranged a l o n g s i d e those o t h e r v i c i s s i t u d e s o f l i f e -unemployment , s i c k n e s s , i n d u s t r i a l i n j u r y , c h i l d - b i r t h , d e a t h i t s e l f - f o r w h i c h s o c i a l i n s u r a n c e s h o u l d make p r o v i s i o n . ' 1 As w i l l be c o n s i d e r e d i n g r e a t e r d e t a i l b e l o w , f o r t h i s p r e d i c t i o n to become t r u e , i t must be p o l i t i c a l l y a c c e p t a b l e to a l l o c a t e l a r g e amounts o f p u b l i c money to s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s when the s u g g e s t i o n i s t h a t c o m p e t i n g i n t e r e s t s , f o r example the e l d e r l y and the p h y s i c a l l y 2 h a n d i c a p p e d , a r e more p o p u l a r w i t h the p u b l i c . How i s i t t h a t the p u b l i c c o u l d , o v e r a p e r i o d o f t i m e , become s a n g u i n e a b o u t the p u b l i c s u p p o r t o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s ? The answer to t h i s q u e s t i o n w i l l 3 e x t r a c t f rom B r o w n ' s p r e d i c t i o n some o f the e l e m e n t s o f the argument t h a t s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d can be v iewed i n the same way as unemployment , f o r e x a m p l e . 4 F i r s t , the examples w h i c h Brown g i v e s i n the e x t r a c t q u o t e d above a r e a l l o r d i n a r y o c c u r r e n c e s . I f s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d , w h e t h e r a r i s i n g f r o m s e p a r a t i o n , d i v o r c e o r b i r t h o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e , i s to be added to the l i s t o f e v e n t s i n l i f e w i t h the c o n s e q u e n c e s o f w h i c h the S t a t e s h o u l d i n v o l v e i t s e l f , i t must shed any p a t h o l o g i c a l a u r a w h i c h s t i l l s u r r o u n d s i t . To be r e g a r d e d as j u s t a n o t h e r u n f o r t u n a t e o c c u r r e n c e , s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d must c e a s e to be c o n s i d e r e d a p e c u l i a r a f f l i c t i o n and become u s u a l . The d e m o g r a p h i c m a t e r i a l rev iewed i n C h a p t e r 1 s u g g e s t s 186 that there Is c e r t a i n l y nothing unusual about single parenthood. To c i t e but one example here to avoid r e p e t i t i o n , i n the mid-1980's i n A u s t r a l i a , there was a chance i n the range of 11-12% of a parental divorce before a c h i l d reached ten, and an 18-19% chance before the c h i l d reached sixteen, a f i v e - f o l d greater chance than In the 1960's. 5 The scale of si n g l e parenthood can be f u l l y appreciated only when other events as well as divorce are taken into account, however. This demonstrable prevalence may lead to single parenthood being regarded as usual but i t does not, without more, preclude stigma and promote the n e u t r a l i t y which Drinan advocates: 'Should society begin to admit that divorce, l i k e death and d i s a b i l i t y , i s a fa c t of existence and that c h i l d r e n adversely affected by the divorce should, l i k e other disadvantaged chil d r e n , receive from societ y those benefits normally a v a i l a b l e to a l l children?' 6 Before society w i l l make this admission and regard s i n g l e parenthood as 'a fact of existence', 7 there must be a lack of that marked censoriousness which led to the giving of r e l i e f by means apt to deter the remainder of the population i n the days of the Poor Law. Considerations of f a u l t r u l e out the s i m p l i c i t y of Drinan's approach, g summed up i n the r h e t o r i c a l question quoted above. I f the complex factors which lead to the creation of the single parent family are to be represented as capable of d i s s e c t i o n i n such a manner that degrees of personal f a u l t are d i s c l o s e d , on what basis other than c h a r i t a b l e compassion can the argument f o r the assumption of public r e s p o n s i b i l i t y be sustained? 187 Kevin Gray argues that: 'Once the notion of personal responsibili ty for marriage breakdown is abandoned, i t becomes impossible to draw any logical dis t inct ion between marital dysfunction and those forms of breakdown which are already covered by social insurance.' 9 In short, once the allocation of blame is dispensed with as a pre-requisite for divorce, loss of support from a marital relationship can be assimilated to loss of support from a job or loss of the a b i l i t y to earn a l i v i n g due to poor health. The individual is not held responsible for loss of health or employment and therefore, the argument runs, no-fault divorce f i t s easily into the model.* 0 Although responsibili ty for the marital breakdown may not be assigned on an individual basis to the former husband or former wife, as the case may be, i t is not to retreat from the abandonment of personal responsibil i ty for marriage breakdown to suggest that, from the point of view of society as a whole, the responsibility is assigned to the former spouses j o i n t l y . What has been discarded is the notion that i t is possible or proper f a i r l y to allocate responsibility between them. That this task is impossible or improper does not unwaveringly lead to the conclusion that economic losses arising out of the marriage breakdown should be primarily a collect ive responsibil i ty . I t remains appropriate to study the financial history of the marriage with a view to determining whether economic advantages have been gained by one spouse, or disadvantages sustained by the other, as a consequence of the organisation of their married l i f e . It is important to point out that in the passages cited above, Brown and Gray are principal ly concerned with spousal maintenance. 188 Brown e x p l i c i t l y r e c o g n i s e s t h a t the w i t h e r i n g away o f the p r i v a t e law o f m a i n t e n a n c e must be c o u n t e r - b a l a n c e d by r e f o r m s i n the f i e l d o f m a t r i m o n i a l p r o p e r t y . A p r o p e r t y award i s p r e s e n t l y o f l e s s p o t e n t i a l v a l u e than a m a i n t e n a n c e award i n the m a j o r i t y o f c a s e s . T h i s a r i s e s f r o m d e f i n i t i o n s o f m a t r i m o n i a l p r o p e r t y w h i c h e x c l u d e many a s s e t s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h e a r n i n g c a p a c i t y and f rom the p a u c i t y o f p r o p e r t y i n s o many c a s e s . G l e n d o n s e e k s to d e m o n s t r a t e how p r o p e r t y awards a r e i n a p p r o p r i a t e as a s u b s t i t u t e f o r m a i n t e n a n c e by p o i n t i n g o u t t h a t a c a p i t a l o f $100,000 (US) i s r e q u i r e d to r a i s e the f e d e r a l g o v e r n m e n t ' s 12 p o v e r t y l e v e l income f o r a f a m i l y o f f o u r . P e r h a p s i t i s i n a p p r o p r i a t e to r e j e c t p r o p o s a l s to a b o l i s h the p r i v a t e law o f m a i n t e n a n c e w i t h r e f e r e n c e to the i n a d e q u a c y o f what wou ld be l e f t o f the p r e s e n t f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f j u r i s d i c t i o n . McDona ld e t a l f i n d ' t h e d i v i s i o n o f economic r e l a t i o n s h i p s o f p a r t i e s to a m a r r i a g e i n t o m a i n t e n a n c e and t a n g i b l e p r o p e r t y . . . no l o n g e r an a d e q u a t e b a s i s f o r 13 f a m i l y l a w ' and p r o p o s e a new b a s i s f o r economic a d j u s t m e n t : c o m p e n s a t o r y payments f o r e c o n o m i c d i s a d v a n t a g e s a l r e a d y s u s t a i n e d b u t 14 w i t h o u t r e g a r d to p o s t - d i v o r c e e v e n t s . W h i l s t s u c h an i d e a r e c o g n i s e s the j o i n t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f the m a r i t a l p a r t n e r s h i p f o r economic d i s a d v a n t a g e s s u s t a i n e d , i t f a i l s to g i v e f u l l c r e d i t to the p o s s i b l e d u r a b i l i t y o f t h e s e d i s a d v a n t a g e s i f c i r c u m s t a n c e s a f t e r d i v o r c e a r e r e g a r d e d as i r r e l e v a n t i n a l l c i r c u m s t a n c e s . E v e n t s a f t e r d i v o r c e may e m p h a s i s e a h i t h e r t o r e l a t i v e l y u n i m p o r t a n t d i s a d v a n t a g e t r a c e a b l e to the m a r r i e d y e a r s . F o r e x a m p l e , the s p o u s e w i t h p r i n c i p a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r c a r e o f the c h i l d r e n may n e v e r have l e f t the l a b o u r marke t c o m p l e t e l y and may a p p a r e n t l y have m a i n t a i n e d e a r n i n g c a p a c i t y . However , due to t a k i n g p a r t - t i m e o r temporary j o b s to accommodate the 189 c h i l d r e n ' s n e e d s , t r a i n i n g may have been n e g l e c t e d and d e v e l o p m e n t s some y e a r s a f t e r d i v o r c e may expose t h i s f a i l i n g . The p o i n t o f t h i s e x c u r s i o n i n t o arguments a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the wisdom o f e f f e c t i n g a c l e a n b r e a k between the f o r m e r s p o u s e s i s to show how s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d i s n o t m e r e l y a n o t h e r o f l i f e ' s e v e n t s w h i c h l e a d s to economic h a r d s h i p . The f l a w o f the argument i s t h a t , e v e n i f f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f i s no l o n g e r p r e c e d e d by an a l l o c a t i o n o f f a u l t , t h e economic d i s a d v a n t a g e s a g a i n s t w h i c h the s i n g l e p a r e n t s e e k s r e l i e f may w e l l be t r a c e a b l e to a p a t t e r n o f m a r r i e d l i f e f rom w h i c h the o t h e r s p o u s e has g a i n e d an a d v a n t a g e b u t has n o t the w h e r e w i t h a l to make a f u l l and f i n a l s e t t l e m e n t , t a k i n g p o s s i b l e f u t u r e e x i g e n c i e s i n t o a c c o u n t . I t may be p r o t e s t e d t h a t t h i s n o t i o n o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the s p o u s e s ' d i v e r g e n t economic f o r t u n e s i s u n r e s p o n s i v e to the S t a t e ' s r o l e i n r e g u l a t i n g the economy on a n a t i o n a l s c a l e . T h i s i s s u e was e x p l o r e d by Lamer J . i n h i s d i s s e n t i n g judgement i n the Supreme C o u r t o f Canada i n M e s s i e r v P e l a g e . * 5 M c l n t y r e and W i l s o n J J . c o n c u r r e d w i t h h i s judgement i n w h i c h he s o u g h t to d e m o n s t r a t e t h a t a f o r m e r s p o u s e who has m a r k e t a b l e w o r k i n g s k i l l s b u t Is u n a b l e to b r e a k i n t o the l a b o u r marke t due to the c o n d i t i o n o f the n a t i o n a l economy s h o u l d p r o p e r l y be r e g a r d e d as i n the same p r e d i c a m e n t as any o t h e r s i n g l e unemployed p e r s o n . T h i s a p p r o a c h l e d Lamer J . to t r y to d e l i n e a t e f a c t o r s c a u s i n g i n a b i l i t y to f i n d employment w h i c h a r e i n t r i n s i c to the p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l and f o r w h i c h the fo rmer spouse may have to s h o u l d e r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and t h o s e f a c t o r s ' e x t r i n s i c to the i n d i v i d u a l , s u c h as the l a b o u r market and the economic s i t u a t i o n ' . * 6 I n the l a t t e r c a s e , ' [ t ] h e p r o b l e m i s a s o c i a l one and i t i s t h e r e f o r e the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f the government r a t h e r t h a n the f o r m e r h u s b a n d ' . * 7 The 190 d i f f i c u l t y of t r y i n g to e x t r i c a t e the marriage from i t s economic context 18 i s c l e a r from Wilson J.'s judgement i n Richardson v Richardson. Apart from two temporary jobs, Mrs Richardson, who was seeking a v a r i a t i o n In her maintenance from the amount formerly agreed, had not worked i n the past t h i r t e e n years, that i s since the b i r t h of t h e i r second c h i l d . The problem of a t t r i b u t i n g Mrs Richardson's present d i f f i c u l t i e s i n the labour market to p r e v a i l i n g economic conditions rather than to her departure from the labour market during the marriage i s far greater than Wilson J . presents i t : 'In sum, she was employed more often than not during the marriage. Moreover, the period of time from her l a s t employment u n t i l the date of the separation was not that great. In this sense i t cannot be said that the marriage atrophied her s k i l l s or impaired the i r marketability.' 19 Finding a half-way house where former spouses are held responsible for c e r t a i n economic disadvantages but not for those attributed to l a r g e r - s c a l e economic forces beyond th e i r control w i l l be f a r from easy and l i k e l y to r e s u l t i n some marked divergences amongst adjudicators. More important than this d i s t i n c t i o n between the supposed sources of economic hardship for the s i n g l e family i s that between those who view s i n g l e parenthood i t s e l f as a s o c i a l r i s k , the costs of which should be accepted by society, and those who would eschew t h i s ' r a d i c a l 20 l i b e r a l i s a t i o n ' . The l a t t e r are presumably content that 'the e f f o r t at l i b e r a l i s a t i o n today i s p r a c t i c a l l y l i m i t e d to confining I t s e l f behind the f r o n t i e r s of private law which unavoidably impedes i t s 21 e f f i c a c i t y ' . The conclusion to be drawn from this discussion i s that s i n g l e parenthood i s not another of the usual v i c i s s i t u d e s of l i f e which the State should o f f e r r e l i e f against. The a s s i m i l a t i o n of divorce to 191 unemployment and i l l n e s s i s u n c o n v i n c i n g , f o r i t f a i l s to d e l v e i n t o t h e r e a s o n s f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y ' s p r e s e n t n e e d , r e s e a r c h w h i c h i s n o t p r e c l u d e d by the abandonment o f the m a t r i m o n i a l o f f e n c e as the f o u n d a t i o n s t o n e o f f i n a n c i a l r e l i e f . The s e d u c t i v e s i m p l i c i t y o f the 22 argument i s w e l l e x e m p l i f i e d by G l e n d o n who q u o t e s i n t r a n s l a t i o n f rom a r e p o r t o f a F i n n i s h Government commit tee c o n c e r n e d w i t h r e f o r m o f the M a r r i a g e A c t : ' t h e need o f the d i v o r c e d s p o u s e g e n e r a l l y i s c a u s e d e i t h e r by unemployment o r by i n a b i l i t y to work , and t r a d i t i o n a l l y c a r i n g f o r c i t i z e n s who f o r s u c h r e a s o n s have been l e f t w i t h o u t s u b s i s t e n c e has been c o n s i d e r e d to be a t a s k f o r s o c i e t y . ' 23 The n e x t q u e s t i o n i s why the former spouse i s unemployed o r u n a b l e to w o r k , the answer to w h i c h i s o f t e n d i s c l o s e d by an e x a m i n a t i o n o f dependence f o s t e r e d d u r i n g m a r r i a g e . I t i s u n f a i r to the t a x p a y e r t o f a c i l i t a t e the c h a n g i n g o f the r u l e s i n the m i d d l e o f the game, to 24 employ W e i t z m a n ' s m e t a p h o r , and to e n a b l e the f o r m e r s p o u s e to evade the c o n s e q u e n c e s o f e c o n o m i c p a t t e r n s w h i c h a r o s e d u r i n g the m a r r i a g e . I n the c a s e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s c r e a t e d by b i r t h s o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e , the h i s t o r y o f the p a r e n t s ' r e l a t i o n s h i p may be s i g n i f i c a n t l y l e s s i m p o r t a n t i n a l a r g e number o f i n s t a n c e s . To r e b u t the argument t h a t the S t a t e s h o u l d a c c e p t e x c l u s i v e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the s u p p o r t o f the c h i l d , i t i s n e c e s s a r y to move the f o c u s away f r o m e n c o u r a g e d d e p e n d e n c i e s and economic a c t i v i t y d u r i n g the r e l a t i o n s h i p and to e n q u i r e w h e t h e r , i n the l i g h t o f the needs and r e s o u r c e s o f the p a r t i e s i n v o l v e d , i t i s p r o p e r f o r the S t a t e to excuse the f a t h e r f rom c o n t r i b u t i o n . To do so wou ld be to r e n d e r the b i r t h a m a t t e r o f f i n a n c i a l c o n c e r n to the mother and S t a t e a l o n e . T h i s i m b a l a n c e w i t h r e s p e c t to the c h i l d r e n ' s upkeep i s u n f a i r and e x p l a i n s why the 192 arguments f o r a b o l i s h i n g p r i v a t e ma in tenance i n f a v o u r o f p u b l i c s u p p o r t a r e a t l e a s t more c r e d i b l e i n the c o n t e x t o f s p o u s a l m a i n t e n a n c e . F i n a l l y , i t i s w o r t h w h i l e to q u e s t i o n b r i e f l y whe ther the a n a l o g y between s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d and l o s s o f work f a i l s on the grounds t h a t the S t a t e does n o t u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y o f f e r r e l i e f to c i t i z e n s who f i n d 25 t h e m s e l v e s u n e m p l o y e d . C o n t r a r y to the model p u t f o r w a r d by G r a y , the S t a t e may r e g a r d unemployment as a m a t t e r o f p e r s o n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . I t may r e f u s e to pay unemployment b e n e f i t i f the c i t i z e n Is v o l u n t a r i l y unemployed o r a t f a u l t . F o r e x a m p l e , the c i t i z e n may have been d i s m i s s e d f o r m i s c o n d u c t c o n n e c t e d w i t h h i s work o r may have r e s i g n e d 26 w i t h o u t good c a u s e . As w e l l as i n v e s t i g a t i n g f a u l t , the S t a t e may d e c l i n e to be p r i m a r i l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the fo rmer w o r k e r ' s u p k e e p , f u l f i l l i n g i n s t e a d a s e c o n d a r y r o l e . An example i s the payment o f r e d u n d a n c y money i n B r i t a i n to employees who a r e made r e d u n d a n t a f t e r 27 two o r more y e a r s o f c o n t i n u o u s employment . The p o i n t i s t h a t the S t a t e i s n o t a p r i m a r y and u n q u e s t i o n i n g p r o v i d e r i n o t h e r , more e s t a b l i s h e d f i e l d s o f S t a t e a c t i v i t y . 2 . The E f f ec t o f Chang_ing^ F a m i l y P a t t e r n s T h i s s e c o n d j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r the S t a t e a c c e p t i n g e x c l u s i v e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the m a i n t e n a n c e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s i s more c o n c e r n e d w i t h p r a g m a t i c c o n s i d e r a t i o n s than the f i r s t a r g u m e n t . F o r t h i s r e a s o n , i t p r o v i d e s a u s e f u l i n t r o d u c t i o n to a d i s c u s s i o n o f the e x t e n t to w h i c h some c o u n t r i e s have a l r e a d y a c c e p t e d s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . I t i s a l s o more c o n c e r n e d w i t h c h i l d r e n , f o r the i d e a t h a t d i v o r c e i s l i k e any o t h e r v i c i s s i t u d e o f l i f e c a n be a p p l i e d more c o m f o r t a b l y to the s e v e r i n g o f the s p o u s e s ' f i n a n c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p than to the p a r e n t and c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p . 193 The conclusion that the State should have an exclusive r e s p o n s i b i l i t y may be reached somewhat r e l u c t a n t l y , only a f t e r an appreciation of the irremediable f a u l t s of the present system: 'by the year 2,000 the law w i l l have abandoned as s o c i a l l y undesirable, frequently i n e f f e c t u a l and wholly uneconomic the hounding of spouses through the courts for non-support of th e i r f a m i l i e s . Non-support by spouse or parent w i l l be ranged alongside ... other v i c i s s i t u d e s of l i f e . ' 28 The State w i l l have to admit the si n g l e parent f a m i l i e s at i t s doors because there w i l l be no a l t e r n a t i v e . As H a r r i s , McDonald and Weston 29 point out, the important choice open to the community i s how, rather than whether, to pay. Chambers i s equally concerned that, i f the future f o r c h i l d r e n i n si n g l e parent f a m i l i e s i n the USA i s one of even greater detachment between them and t h e i r non-custodial parents, 'we should be reluctant to r e t a i n a system of government enforced n o s t a l g i a f o r a 30 world that has been los t ' . Despite the present emphasis on the c o l l e c t i o n of c h i l d support i n 31 the USA, Chambers predicts that the consensus concerning the f i n a n c i a l obligations of absent parents may grudgingly a l t e r , even though the 32 numbers of c h i l d r e n i n s i n g l e parent families continue to increase. Resistance to support o b l i g a t i o n s ' w i l l never be commended, but ... i t may someday be condoned and grudgingly accepted, l i k e the Incidence of 33 divorce i t s e l f . To summarise Chambers' argument, i t i s not that the a l t e r a t i o n s i n r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s are to be e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y welcomed, but they are i n e v i t a b l e as long as non-custodial parents d r i f t out of the 34 'inner core of most f a m i l i e s ' and become 'in the end j u s t v i s i t o r s ' . Lord Denning's hope, expressed e x t r a - j u d i c i a l l y some twenty years ago, 35 'that the tide w i l l turn' has proved vain. 194 On t h i s b a s i s , i t i s a c c e p t e d t h a t the S t a t e s h o u l d p l a y a g r e a t e r r o l e b u t w h e t h e r i t s h o u l d t o t a l l y s u p p l a n t the a b s e n t p a r e n t i s more p r o b l e m a t i c a l . I t i s one t h i n g f o r the p u b l i c to a c c e p t the d i s t a n c i n g o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t f r o m the f o r m e r h o u s e h o l d , b u t i t i s a n o t h e r to a c c e p t the b u r d e n o f s u p p o r t i n g t h a t former h o u s e h o l d . T h i s r a i s e s an i m p o r t a n t i s s u e i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the p r o p e r r o l e o f the S t a t e . Would an u n i n t e n d e d c o n s e q u e n c e o f the e m a n c i p a t i o n o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t be to f o s t e r t h a t p a r e n t ' s d i s e n g a g e m e n t f r o m the f o r m e r h o u s e h o l d to the d e t r i m e n t o f the c h i l d r e n ? A r e q u i r e m e n t to s u p p o r t a p a r t i c u l a r p e r s o n Is an i n d i c a t i o n t h a t the r e l a t i o n s h i p i s r e g a r d e d by the S t a t e as s i g n i f i c a n t a t t h i s 36 p a r t i c u l a r moment. Chambers u t i l i s e s t h i s n o t i o n o f s i g n i f i c a n t i n v o l v e m e n t as a key to u n d e r s t a n d i n g how o b l i g a t i o n s to s u p p o r t have 37 v a r i e d . T h e y have b e e n by no means c o n s t a n t , e v e n i n the c o n t e x t o f the p a r e n t and c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p : i t was n o t u n t i l the U n i t e d S t a t e s 38 Supreme C o u r t d e c i d e d Gomez v P e r e z t h a t the f a t h e r o f a c h i l d b o r n 39 o u t o f w e d l o c k was o b l i g e d to s u p p o r t the c h i l d i n T e x a s . The S c o t t i s h Law Commiss ion d e m o n s t r a t e s the w i d t h o f the f a m i l y group w h i c h c a n be o b l i g e d to a l i m e n t a c h i l d b o r n i n m a r r i a g e : the o b l i g a t i o n i s p r i m a r i l y tha t o f the f a t h e r , s e c o n d a r i l y t h a t o f the m o t h e r , and t h e n 40 i t p a s s e s to the a s c e n d a n t s o f the p a r e n t s i n d i r e c t l i n e . T h i s w ide 41 network o f a l i m e n t a r y o b l i g a t i o n s i s a l s o r e c i p r o c a l . T h i s i s n o t a 42 u n i q u e a p p r o a c h amongst t h e Romano-German l e g a l sys tems a n d , i n d e e d , Chambers r e f e r s to A m e r i c a n s t a t e laws r e q u i r i n g s u p p o r t payments f r o m g r a n d p a r e n t s anad s i b l i n g s though he e x p l a i n s t h e i r n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y o r i g i n s w i t h r e f e r e n c e to then e x i s t i n g f a m i l y p a t t e r n s r a t h e r than the f o u n d a t i o n o f the p a r t i c u l a r s t a t e l e g a l s y s t e m . As f a m i l y p a t t e r n s 195 and notions of domestic r e s p o n s i b i l i t y have a l t e r e d , so have American states whittled down the family group p o t e n t i a l l y l i a b l e to support a p a r t i c u l a r c h i l d . Chambers c i t e s eight states which have repealed laws o b l i g i n g grandparents and s i b l i n g s to support i n the early 1970's, 44 notwithstanding concern about the s o c i a l assistance budget. The dilemma i s whether to respond to further changes i n family patterns by further l i m i t i n g the set of r e l a t i v e s who can be c a l l e d upon to maintain a c h i l d . Such a l i m i t a t i o n may be unwelcome to many of the non-custodial parents themselves. The I n s t i t u t e of Law Research and Reform conducted a survey of men i n Calgary and Edmonton with a view to gaining some i n s i g h t into the reasons why some men pay support and 45 others do not. Of 261 respondents, only 4.6% thought the State should support th e i r former wives, and of 245 respondents, only 1.2% thought 46 the State should support the c h i l d r e n . I t i s also i n t e r e s t i n g that, of 202 respondents who were good payers, 47% agreed and 21.8% disagreed with the statement: 'I would not l i k e to see my ex-wife being supported 47 by s o c i a l assistance'. Furthermore, j u s t over 75% of 199 good payers 48 expressed r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for and closeness to the i r c h i l d r e n , p o s i t i v e feelings which might be prejudiced by i n t r u s i v e p o l i c i e s of the State. For some sing l e parents, the concern of non-custodial parents, i f manifested s o l e l y i n f i n a n c i a l assistance, may appear to emphasise a continuing, d e b i l i t a t i n g dependence on the economically powerful former spouse rather than to represent a p o s i t i v e c o n t r i b u t i o n to the household. I t would be unduly c y n i c a l to a t t r i b u t e payment i n a l l , or even the majority of cases, to a wish for power over the household of which the payer i s no longer part. Rather, i n some cases i t may demonstrate a 196 continuing desire for a stake in the household, for relationships which have been disrupted and to demonstrate the persistence of affection for the children. The a v a i l a b i l i t y of the non-custodial parent may be of profound psychological value to the child and assist the child in coming 49 to terms with the parents' separation. Whilst f a i l i n g to establish a causal l i n k , Furstenberg has demonstrated how regular payment of child support often corresponds with regular v i s i t s to the c h i l d r e n . ^ If i t is accepted that the prevalence of single parenthood and inefficacious procedures for obtaining transfers of income necessitate the displacement of the non-custodial parent as primary provider, the reform adopted must not leap ahead of the expectations of the community at large or of those immediately affected by the reform and must be sympathetic to the des i rabi l i ty of nurturing the relationship between non-custodial parents and children. 3. Social Responsibility: the Present Position In the conclusion to the previous section, i t was suggested that there may be unintended deleterious consequences for the children i f the State were to relieve the non-custodial parent of f inancial responsibi l i ty . I t is also necessary to enquire whether the replacement of the family as the major inst i tut ion for dealing with dependence has had or w i l l have any other undesirable consequences. A possible scenario is that there w i l l be a progression i n State act ivi ty from assistance and responsiveness to the needs of the single parent family to, on the other hand, an unwelcome intrusiveness. Put simply, the single parent family may find there is a price to pay for the resources which the States makes available. 197 Lawson , i n h i s r e v i e w o f s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e r e f o r m i n Denmark a f t e r W o r l d War I I , 5 * comments t h a t the ' m o s t i m p o r t a n t f e a t u r e o f the r e f o r m s f o r s i n g l e p a r e n t s was a new r e c o g n i t i o n o f t h e i r f i n a n c i a l p rob lems as 52 s o c i a l r i s k s ' . T h i s i s n o t to i n d u l g e i n the e m o t i v e l a n g u a g e o f L o r d 53 D e n n i n g i n h i s f o r e w o r d to L a t e y ' s b o o k , The T i d e o f D i v o r c e , i n w h i c h he promotes the t h e s i s t h a t c i v i l i s a t i o n i s t h r e a t e n e d by the i r r e p a r a b l e p s y c h o l o g i c a l harm s u s t a i n e d by the many c h i l d r e n who do n o t 54 l i v e i n t w o - p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . However , i t i s i m p o r t a n t to a p p r e c i a t e t h a t measures i n t r o d u c e d to s h i e l d the c h i l d , and the f a m i l y u n i t as a w h o l e , f r o m a v o i d a b l e harms w h i c h a r e b e l i e v e d to be p r e v a l e n t i n the p a r t i c u l a r c i c u m s t a n c e s o f the f a m i l y c a n , u n l e s s m o n i t o r e d , g e r m i n a t e i n t o a s t r a t e g y o f g e n e r a l i n t e r v e n t i o n i n the a f f a i r s o f the f a m i l y . The d a n g e r i s t h a t the o v e r - r e s p o n s i b l e S t a t e w i l l p r o v e u n p o p u l a r and i t s p o t e n t i a l l y v a l u a b l e s e r v i c e s become n o t o r i o u s and u n d e r - u s e d . S p e c i f i c a l l y , the S t a t e ' s a d o p t i o n o f the r o l e o f p r o v i d e r f o r the w e l f a r e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y s h o u l d n o t be a t h r e a t to p a r e n t a l c u s t o d y o f the c h i l d r e n . Samuels s u g g e s t s t h a t the s i n g l e p a r e n t i s e s p e c i a l l y v u l n e r a b l e to p r e s s u r e s to g i v e u p the c a r e o f the c h i l d r e n . 5 5 W i t h the demand f o r c h i l d r e n f r o m p o t e n t i a l a d o p t i v e 56 p a r e n t s so g r e a t , h a v i n g a c h i l d a d o p t e d may a p p e a r the e a s i e s t o p t i o n . P e r h a p s the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y w h i c h a r i s e s f r o m a b i r t h o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e i s the most v u l n e r a b l e to t h i s fo rm o f d i s r u p t i o n . Duncan r e l a t e s how a ' v e r y h i g h p e r c e n t a g e ' 5 7 o f u n m a r r i e d mothers i n the R e p u b l i c o f I r e l a n d do n o t r a i s e t h e i r own c h i l d r e n due to the s t i g m a a t t a c h i n g to t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . V o l u n t a r y c a r e agreements w i t h a 58 c h i l d c a r e a u t h o r i t y a r e a p o s s i b l e r e s p o n s e to the f r u s t r a t i o n and l o n e l i n e s s o f s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d and a r e o f t e n a p r e l u d e to the permanent 198 s e p a r a t i o n o f p a r e n t and c h i l d . As Packman, R a n d a l l and J a c q u e s p o i n t o u t , t h i s r o u t e to c a r e c a s t s ' p a r e n t s as u n f o r t u n a t e r a t h e r t h a n b l a m e w o r t h y , and c a s t s the l o c a l a u t h o r i t y i n the r o l e o f the c h i l d ' s 59 c a r e t a k e r , a c t i n g o n the p a r e n t s ' b e h a l f . How o f t e n i s t h i s i d e a l o f s u p p o r t i v e c a r e , i d e a l l y t emporary and e n a b l i n g the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t to cope w i t h a p a r t i c u l a r c r i s i s , d e l i v e r e d i n p r a c t i c e ? The c o n c e r n to w h i c h a t t e n t i o n i s drawn i n t h i s p a s s a g e i s t h a t , i f s o c i e t y i s to u n d e r t a k e g r e a t e r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , the S t a t e may, as a c o r o l l a r y , take g r e a t e r power to i n t r u d e i n t o p r i v a t e a f f a i r s , t h e r e b y p r e j u d i c i n g the r a t e a t w h i c h v a l u a b l e s e r v i c e s a r e t a k e n up by s i n g l e p a r e n t s . Lawson s u g g e s t s t h a t r e l u c t a n c e to a p p l y f o r the a v a i l a b l e s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e i s p a r t i c u l a r l y marked i n West Germany and he a t t r i b u t e s t h i s to ' i n t e n s e p r e s s u r e s on many poor p e o p l e i n t h e Germany o f the 'economc m i r a c l e ' to k e e p s i l e n t a b o u t t h e i r p o v e r t y ' . 6 0 P o v e r t y i n Germany i s , he c o n t e n d s , o f t e n c o n s i d e r e d to be l i m i t e d to m a r g i n a l groups who have c o n t r i b u t e d to t h e i r own m i s f o r t u n e , t h e r e b y e l i m i n a t i n g the s u b j e c t as 61 a major t o p i c f o r d e b a t e . In any e v e n t , s i n c e the N a z i e r a , s u c c e s i v e West German governments have a d o p t e d an e s s e n t i a l l y a b s t e n t i o n i s t a p p r o a c h to f a m i l y a f f a i r s , b e i n g c h a r y o f e n c r o a c h i n g on the p r e s e r v e s o f the f a m i l y . T h i s r e a c t i o n to the i n t r u s i v e n e s s o f N a z i s m , w i t h i t s s t r e s s on the need to . r e p r o d u c e , may have l e d to what Lawson c o n s i d e r s ' a w i d e s p r e a d p u b l i c e x p e c t a t i o n t h a t [ s i n g l e m o t h e r s ] s h o u l d work and be ' i n d e p e n d e n t o f the s t a t e ' , a v i e w w h i c h a p p e a r s to have b e e n e n c o u r a g e d by some o f the c o u r t s and s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e a u t h o r i t i e s ' . The b a l a n c e s t r u c k by the West German s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e a u t h o r i t i e s between the c i t i z e n ' s o b l i g a t i o n to work and the need to a v o i d p r e j u d i c i n g the u p b r i n g i n g o f the c h i l d r e n b r i n g s i n t o f o c u s the 199 q u e s t i o n o f the a v a i l a b i l i t y o f e a r n i n g s as a r e s o u r c e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t . H e c l o and C o c k b u r n s t a t e t h a t the u s u a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f the r e g u l a t i o n s i s t h a t the p a r e n t o f s c h o o l - a g e c h i l d r e n s h o u l d be a b l e t o 63 w o r k . In West Germany, i t wou ld a p p e a r t h a t t h e r e a r e a number o f s o u r c e s o f p r e s s u r e on s i n g l e p a r e n t s to work , and a d e s i r e to work , o r a c c e p t a n c e t h a t i t i s n e c e s s a r y and demanded, o n the p a r t o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s . Thus f a r i n t h i s c h a p t e r , the i s s u e o f e a r n i n g s and the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s own r e s o u r c e s has been k e p t i n the b a c k g r o u n d and the c h o i c e has i m p l i c i t l y been p r e s e n t e d as between the p u b l i c p u r s e o r the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s r e s o u r c e s . A t t h i s s t a g e , i t i s a p p r o p r i a t e to add the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s e a r n i n g c a p a c i t y to the l i s t o f v a r i a b l e s and to e n q u i r e , i n the c o n t e x t o f t h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f the e x t e n t o f a c c e p t a n c e o f s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y , to what e x t e n t the S t a t e can r e l i e v e i t s own f i n a n c i a l b u r d e n by p r o m o t i n g employment o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s . The a c c e p t a n c e o f s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y does n o t n e c e s s a r i l y i m p l y the i n d e f i n i t e p r o v i s i o n o f s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e i n the f o r m o f money. I t c o u l d e q u a l l y w e l l i n c l u d e the d e v e l o p m e n t o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s e a r n i n g c a p a c i t y w i t h a v iew to the f a m i l y ' s p r i n c i p a l s o u r c e o f income b e c o m i n g , o v e r a p e r i o d o f t i m e , the e a r n i n g s o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t . T h i s c o u l d be a model by means o f w h i c h the S t a t e c o u l d promote the g o a l o f s e v e r i n g the f i n a n c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p o f the f o r m e r s p o u s e s a n d , a l s o , c u r t a i l i n g the dependence o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t o n the s t a t e , a dependence w h i c h may w e l l have a r i s e n due to a s i n g l e - m i n d e d p u r s u i t o f i t s f i r s t g o a l . T h i s b r o a d e r v iew o f s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , e m b r a c i n g f a c i l i t i e s w i t h r e s p e c t to employment and c h i l d - c a r e as w e l l as p r o v i s i o n o f money, c o u l d be more i n t r u s i v e i f 200 i n s e n s i t i v e l y managed bu t i t does h o l d o u t the p r o s p e c t o f a l o n g - t e r m , s u s t a i n a b l e s o l u t i o n to the p r o b l e m o f r e p l a c i n g the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s e x i s t i n g d e p e n d e n c i e s . I n so f a r as they f a i l to take f u l l a c c o u n t o f the e c o n o m i c a l l y d e b i l i t a t i n g e f f e c t s o f p a s t d e p e n d e n c y , laws w h i c h p r o v i d e f o r o n l y a t r a n s i t i o n a l t r a n s f e r o f income f rom the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t i n the b e l i e f t h a t t h i s w i l l g i v e the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s u f f i c i e n t leeway to e s t a b l i s h a f i n a n c i a l l y i n d e p e n d e n t l i f e w i l l i n e v i t a b l y l e a d to some c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s becoming d e p e n d e n t on the S t a t e f o r s u p p o r t . I t i s u n a v o i d a b l e t h a t some w i l l f a i l to r e - o r g a n i s e s u c c e s s f u l l y w i t h i n the p e r i o d d u r i n g w h i c h m a i n t e n a n c e i s a v a i l a b l e . I t i s i n t h i s s e n s e t h a t G l e n d o n ' s comments on a p o s s i b l e u n i n t e n d e d c o n s e q u e n c e o f the c l e a n b r e a k t h e o r y a r e b e s t u n d e r s t o o d : ' [ S e l f - s u p p o r t l a w s ] e n s h r i n e and perhaps r e i n f o r c e the s e n s e t h a t the economic p rob lems o f d i v o r c e a r e , l i k e i l l n e s s and unemployment , prob lems f o r the s o c i e t y as a w h o l e . ' 64 The d i f f i c u l t y w h i c h the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t who has been e c o n o m i c a l l y i n a c t i v e w i l l e x p e r i e n c e i n f i n d i n g work w h i c h i s c o m p a t i b l e w i t h c h i l d - c a r e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and w h i c h e n a b l e s i n d e p e n d e n c e to be a t t a i n e d e x e m p l i f i e s the need f o r the i n v o l v e m e n t o f the S t a t e i n * p r o v i d i n g a s s i s t a n c e w h i c h i s , i n any e v e n t , beyond the means o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . Lawson c a u t i o n s a g a i s t too e n t h u s i a s t i c a n endorsement o f the 65 S t a t e ' s r o l e i n p r o m o t i n g employment amongst s i n g l e p a r e n t s . In West Germany, he a r g u e s t h a t h a r d s h i p s have a r i s e n as a r e s u l t o f the p r e s s u r e on the s i n g l e p a r e n t to f i n d employment: many s i n g l e p a r e n t s work l o n g hours a t l o w - p a i d j o b s w h i c h a r e a l l t h a t a r e a v a i l a b l e due to t h e i r l a c k o f t r a i n i n g . S u c h an e x i s t e n c e i s n o t i n d e p e n d e n c e b u t to exchange one fo rm o f i n s e c u r i t y f o r a n o t h e r . 201 I t i s p o s s i b l e , however , to i d e n t i f y p o l i c i e s w h i c h would a s s i s t s i n g l e p a r e n t s i n b e c o m i n g e c o n o m i c a l l y i n d e p e n d e n t i n the a p p r o a c h e s o f c e r t a i n W e s t e r n E u r o p e a n c o u n t r i e s w h i c h do n o t h o l d o u t to s i n g l e p a r e n t s the c h o i c e o f w h e t h e r o r n o t to w o r k . F i r s t , the t r e a t m e n t o f e a r n i n g s f rom p a r t - t i m e work w i t h i n the s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e s y s t e m i s i n f o r m e d by the g o a l t h a t payments o f a s s i s t a n c e w i l l e v e n t u a l l y become a supp lement to e a r n i n g s . Whereas i n B r i t a i n p a r t - t i m e work , an a p p e a l i n g f i r s t s t e p i n t o the l a b o u r m a r k e t , i s d i s c o u r a g e d by p a r s i m o n i o u s d i s r e g a r d s o f e a r n i n g s and pound f o r pound d e d u c t i o n s f r o m a s s i s t a n c e p a y m e n t s , i n West Germany p a r t - t i m e work i s e n c o u r a g e d by a s c a l e o f d i s r e g a r d s o f e a r n i n g s w h i c h becomes more s t r i n g e n t as more i s e a r n e d . 6 7 The i m p o r t a n t p o i n t i s t h a t the e a r n i n g s a r e n o t d e d u c t e d Mark f o r Mark f r o m the a s s i s t a n c e . Lawson shows t h a t p a r t - t i m e work i s n o t p e n a l i s e d i n Denmark to the same e x t e n t as i n B r i t a i n though p a r t o f the e x p l a n a t i o n i s t h a t n o n - m e a n s - t e s t e d f a m i l y a l l o w a n c e s a r e more p r o m i n e n t t h a n the m e a n s - t e s t e d a s s i s t a n c e payments on w h i c h s i n g l e 68 p a r e n t f a m i l i e s o f t e n r e l y i n B r i t a i n . P a r t - t i m e work i s i d e a l f o r some s i n g l e p a r e n t s b e c a u s e they c a n cope w i t h t h e i r c h i l d - c a r e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s more e a s i l y as a r e s u l t . A n o t h e r p o l i c y d e s i g n e d to accommodate work and p a r e n t i n g i s the p r o v i s i o n o f c h i l d - c a r e f a c i l i t i e s d u r i n g the d a y . T h i s i s an a r e a i n w h i c h Denmark i s f a r a d v a n c e d , h a v i n g 4 1 , 6 5 0 p l a c e s i n d a y n u r s e r i e s f o r c h i l d r e n u n d e r t h r e e i n 1 9 7 4 . 6 ^ P r o v i s i o n i s e i t h e r f r e e o r i s p r i c e d a t 40% o r 60% o f the c o s t s , d e p e n d i n g on the p a r e n t s ' m e a n s . 7 0 The t h i r d f i e l d o f p o l i c y w h i c h c o n t r i b u t e s to the f r e q u e n c y o f work amongst s i n g l e p a r e n t s i s e d u c a t i o n and t r a i n i n g . Denmark once a g a i n s e t s the i n t e r n a t i o n a l p a c e , p r o v i d i n g t r a i n i n g c e n t r e s to a t t e n d 202 w h i c h n o n - m e a n s - t e s t e d g r a n t s a r e a v a i l a b l e . E f f o r t i s pu t i n t o c o - o r d i n a t i n g t r a i n i n g and employment b u t commentators have q u e s t i o n e d the d e l i v e r y o f the s e r v i c e : ' e v e n w i t h so s p e c i a l i s e d a scheme o n l y a b o u t one i n e v e r y s i x u n m a r r i e d mothers c o n t a c t i n g the c e n t r e s i n f a c t r e c e i v e s t r a i n i n g . The g e n e r a l p i c t u r e w h i c h emerges i s one o f d i s a p p o i n t m e n t w i t h the e x t e n t t o w h i c h l o n e mothers i n f a c t s u c c e e d i n t a k i n g a d v a n t a g e o f t r a i n i n g f a c i l i t i e s . ' 72 N e v e r t h e l e s s , t r a i n i n g f a c i l i t i e s a r e w i d e l y emphas ised i n S c a n d i n a v i a . I n Sweden, o c c u p a t i o n a l t r a i n i n g i s a v a i l a b l e f o r women who have been 73 out o f the l a b o u r m a r k e t . A t a x a b l e o c c u p a t i o n a l t r a i n i n g a l l o w a n c e 74 i s p a y a b l e . The S w e d i s h s y s t e m acknowledges t h a t j o b - t r a i n i n g i s n o t a p p r o p r i a t e i n e v e r y c a s e and t h a t i t w i l l n o t a lways be s u c c e s s f u l by p r o v i d i n g f o r the payment o f what i s e s s e n t i a l l y an e a r l y r e t i r e m e n t p e n s i o n i f i t c a n be shown t h a t the a b i l i t y to work has been p e r m a n e n t l y 75 d i m i n i s h e d by h a l f . The e x i s t e n c e o f s u c h a b e n e f i t makes e x p l i c i t the d e b i l i t a t i n g e f f e c t upon e a r n i n g c a p a c i t y w h i c h r e m o v a l f rom the w o r k f o r c e c a n h a v e . T h e s e examples f r o m n o r t h e r n E u r o p e g i v e a n i n d i c a t i o n o f the e x t e n t to w h i c h the c o n c e p t o f s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y has a l r e a d y been a c c e p t e d , e s p e c i a l l y w i t h r e s p e c t to f a c i l i t a t i n g the e n t r y o r r e - e n t r y i n t o the l a b o u r market o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t . I t has been a p p r e c i a t e d i n t h e s e c o u n t r i e s t h a t p u b l i c s u b v e n t i o n by way o f a s s i s t a n c e payments can be r e d u c e d i f the i n d e p e n d e n c e o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y c a n be p r o m o t e d . I d e a l l y , a s s i s t a n c e payments s h o u l d supp lement e a r n i n g s to b r i n g the s i n g l e 76 p a r e n t f a m i l y c l o s e r to the s t a n d a r d s o f t w o - p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . However , the p r i n c i p a l theme o f t h i s c h a p t e r i s the i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f the p o s s i b i l i t y o f the S t a t e a s s u m i n g e x c l u s i v e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r 203 the s i n g l e parent family In so far as the single parent family i s not s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t . I t must be emphasised that the northern European countries from which the examples have been drawn have not accepted exclusive r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . To take Sweden as an example, i f the non-custodial parent defaults i n paying maintenance, the l o c a l insurance o f f i c e w i l l pay the si n g l e parent the amount of the order and w i l l then seek to reimburse i t s e l f from the non-custodial p a r e n t . 7 7 In order to take advantage of this system of maintenance advances, the single mother must co-operate with respect to the establishment of paternity, i f this 78 is i n question. Cockburn and Heclo point out that: 'The f i c t i o n of an advance has gradually given way over the years to a more substantial r e a l i t y - the provision of a guaranteed l e v e l of maintenance to c h i l d r e n of divorced, separated or unmarried couples, a guarantee independent of the vagaries surrounding a father's private l e g a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and his a b i l i t y or willingness to pay.' 79 The system of advance maintenance, begun by Denmark i n 1888 with a guarantee of 60% of the costs of a c h i l d ' s upkeep i n a p a r t i c u l a r 80 l o c a l i t y , i s properly interpreted as a system which a l l o c a t e s to the State a primary r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for maintenance but, when i t i s studied i n conjunction with the resources a v a i l a b l e f or recovering money from 81 the non-custodial parent, i t i s c l e a r l y not the State's int e n t i o n to assume exclusive r e s p o n s i b i i t y . ^* Concluding Remarks In the Eleanor Rathbone Memorial Lecture i n 1955, Professor Titmuss i d e n t i f i e s a steady recognition of various states of dependency as 82 c o l l e c t i v e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . These may be broadly divided into the natural dependencies, such as extreme old age, and dependencies which 204 a r i s e due to human a c t i v i t y , which range from some forms of i l l n e s s to 83 unemployment. The dependency of the si n g l e parent family f a l l s into the l a t t e r category, which comprehends those dependencies which are often l e s s popular with the pub l i c . 84 Hennessy's review of public attitudes to s o c i a l s e c u r i t y i n the United Kingdom di s c l o s e s some i n t e r e s t i n g opinions relevant to the a c c e p t a b i l i t y of future p o l i c i e s . For example, Norris conducted two 85 postal surveys of three thousand people i n 1973 and 1976. Recipients of the survey were asked whether p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l groups should be helped at a l l by the State and which groups are most In need of help. In both surveys, unsupported mothers were s i x t h p r i o r i t y out of the sixteen groups, behind the e l d e r l y and the p h y s i c a l l y handicapped who * 86 were the most popular. The Schlackmann Research Organisation also i d e n t i f i e d sympathy for the e l d e r l y and the s i c k . I t found there was general sympathy f o r si n g l e parents but some opposition to assistance for mothers of ch i l d r e n born outside marriage. The empirical research does tend to bear out Glendon's wry comment: 'Even i f one can imagine good c i t i z e n taxpayers who are not opposed to assuming more and more r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for such s o c i a l r i s k s as i l l n e s s , d i s a b i l i t y and old age i n society, i t would take an almost s a i n t l y taxpayer to ch e e r f u l l y assume the cost of other people's s e r i a l marital adventures.' 87 The public has assumed some r e s p o n s i b i l i t y but i t does not want exclusive r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , not only because i t feels that former members of the household should provide f o r the sing l e parent family, but also because there are perceived to be higher p r i o r i t i e s amongst the competing groups of the poor. The time i s not yet r i p e f o r the State to concede that domestic r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , are l i m i t e d to the u n i t within 205 w h i c h the c i t i z e n i s p r e s e n t l y r e s i d i n g . To do s o , the S t a t e would have to be s a n g u i n e a b o u t i t s own economic f u t u r e f o r i t i s so much c h e a p e r f o r the S t a t e i f dependency c a n be accommodated w i t h i n the f a m i l y . As w i l l be s u g g e s t e d i n the f o l l o w i n g c h a p t e r , the c h o i c e o f a p p r o p r i a t e r o l e s f o r the S t a t e i s w i d e . The p r e s e n t s u g g e s t i o n t h a t the S t a t e s h o u l d have e x c l u s i v e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y s h o u l d be r e j e c t e d , b u t t h a t i s n o t to d i s m i s s the p r o p o s a l t h a t b r o a d e n i n g the ambi t o f s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , w i t h s p e c i a l r e f e r e n c e to o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r employment and p r o v i s i o n o f c h i l d - c a r e f a c i l i t i e s , would be b e n e f i c i a l f o r s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . N e i t h e r i s the p r o p o s a l c o m p l e t e l y to e m a n c i p a t e the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t d i s m i s s e d s i m p l y on the ground t h a t the c o s t to the S t a t e o u t w e i g h s the b e n e f i t o f a g u a r a n t e e d income to the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . L i k e the F r e n c h N a t i o n a l A s s e m b l y , when f a c e d i n 1975 w i t h a p r o p o s a l e m a n a t i n g f r o m the S o c i a l i s t and Communist P a r t i e s to i n t r o d u c e a g u a r a n t e e d m a i n t e n a n c e scheme w h i c h would n o t i n f a c t have r u l e d o u t 88 the s e e k i n g o f c o n t r i b u t i o n s f r o m n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s , r e j e c t i o n i s p a r t l y based on a c o n c e r n f o r the s o c i a l e f f e c t s o f no l o n g e r h o l d i n g n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s r e s p o n s i b l e . A s s u m i n g e x c l u s i v e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r a f a m i l y ' s f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y may i n v o l v e s e v e r i n g t h a t f a m i l y ' s f i n a n c i a l l i n k s w i t h o t h e r s i g n i f i c a n t i n d i v i d u a l s , n o t a b l y o f c o u r s e an a b s e n t p a r e n t . S e v e r i n g t h a t l i n k may l e a d to the s e v e r i n g o f o t h e r l i n k s , e m o t i o n a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l , to the p o s s i b l e d e t r i m e n t o f the c h i l d r e n o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . 206 Foo tno tes 1. L.N. Brown, 'Maintenance and Esoterism' (1968) 31 Mojiern Law Review 121 at p 137. 2. See P. Hennessy, 'Public Opinion about the S o c i a l Security System i n the UK' (1987) 40 Inte_rjnational S o c i a l Security Review 248. 3. Supra, footnote 1. 4. I b i d . 5. M. Har r i s , P. McDonald and R. Weston, 'Payment of Child Maintenance In A u s t r a l i a ' (1987) 1 International Journal of Law and the Family 92, c i t i n g at 93 research by G. Carmichael and P. McDonald In 1986. 6. R.F. Drinan, 'Has John Frank proposed a Radical Reform of Family Law?' (1969) 47 Texas Law Review 991 at p 1,001. 7. I b i d . 8. I b i d . 9. K. Gray, Reallocation of Property on Divorce (Abingdon: Professional Books 1977) p 326. 10. I b i d . 11. Supra, footnote 1 at p 137. 12. M.A. Glenden, State, Law and Family (Amsterdam: North Holland 1977) at p 263. 13. P. McDonald with K. Funder, M. Harrison and R.E. Weston, 'Directions f o r Law Reform and S o c i a l P o l i c y ' i n P. McDonald (ed) S e t t l i n g Up (Sydney: P r e n t i c e - H a l l 1986) p 315. 14. Ibid at p 314 v 15. (1983) 35 RFL (2d) 337 at 353. 16. S_upra, footnote 15 at 362. 17. I b i d . 18. (1987) RFL (3d) 304 at 307. 1 9 « Supra, footnote 18 at 311. 207 20. The words are Carbonnier's i n 'La question du divorce' D.S. 1975. Chr 115 at p 118. The t r a n s l a t i o n i s M.A. Glendon's, supra, footnote 12, p 298, her footnote 22. 21. L o c . c i t . . 2 2 « Su_ora, footnote 12 p 261. 23. The report dates from 1972. 24. L . J . Weitzman, The Divorce Revolution (New York: Free Press 1985) p 211. 25. Sujora, foootnote 9. 26. See Social Security Act 1975 s 20 and A.I. Ogus and E.M. Barendt, The Law of Soc i a l Security (London: Butterworths 1978) pp 108-122. 27. Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, Part VI. 28. Brown, supra, foootnote 1 at 137. 29. Supra, footnote 5 a t 100. 30. D.L. Chambers, 'The Coming Curtailment of Compulsory Child Support' (1982) 80 Michigan Law Review 1614 at 1634. 31. See the Child Support Enforcement Amendments 1984. 32. Sujpjra, footnote 30, pp 1614-1617. 33. Chambers, sujpjra, footnote 30 p 1615. 34. D.L. Chambers, Making Father Pay (Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago 1979) p 277. 35. P v i i i i n foreword to W. Latey, The Tide _qf j l i vqr ce (London: Longman 1970). 36. Chambers, sujjra, footnote 34 at p 272. 3 7 • Sujira, footnote 34 at pp 272-277. 38. 409 U.S. 535 (1973). 39. Chambers, supra, footnote 34 at p 273. 40. S c o t t i s h Law Commission, Memorandum forming Appendix 6 to the Report of the Committe on One-Parent Families, Cmnd 5629 (London: HMSO 1974) para 41. Loc. c i t . 42. Loc. c i t . 208 43. Supra, footnote 34 at p 272. ^ * Supra, footnote 34 at p 273. 45. The Canadian I n s t i t u t e for Research, Matrimonial Support Failures (Edmonton: U n i v e r s i t y of Alberta 1981). 46. The Canadian I n s t i t u t e f o r Research, supra, footnoote 45, Table 11 on p 289. 47. Ibid on p 290. ^8. Loc. c i t . . 49. J.S. Wallersteln and J.B. K e l l y , Surviving the Breakup (London: Grant Mclntyre 1980). 50. F. Furstenberg, 'The L i f e course of Children of Divorce', paper for the Population Association of America (San Diego 1982). 51. R. Lawson, 'Western Europe' i n A. Samuels, ed, So c i a l Security and Family Law (Great B r i t a i n : UK National Committee for Comparative Law 1979). 52. Ibid at p 282. 53. Supra, footnote 35. 54. This i s s i m i l a r to the rati o n a l e which informs his judgement i n the Court of Appeal i n Re L [1962] 3 A l l ER 1 at 3. 55. A. Samuels, 'Conclusions' i n Samuels, supra, footnote 51 at p 321. 56. I . Grant and D. Cohen state, at p 7-01 of th e i r family law materials (University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1988) that, i n B r i t i s h Columbia at present, 'the waiting l i s t f o r prospective parents exceeds 3,100 (a r a t i o of 200 couples for every one c h i l d ) and waiting periods of up to f i v e years are commonplace'. 57. W.R. Duncan, 'Republic of Ireland' i n Samuels, supra, footnote 51 at p 52. 58. See, for example, ss 4-6 of Family and Child Service Act, S.B.C. 1980, c 11. 59. J . Packman, with J . Randall and N. Jacques, Who Needs Care? (Oxford: Blackwell 1986) p 194. 60. Supra, footnote 51 at p 287. 61. Lawson, supra, footnote 51 at p 288. 62. Loc. c i t . . 209 63. C. Cockburn and H. Heclo, 'Income Maintenance f o r One-Parent Families i n Other Countries', Appendix 3 to the Report of the Committee on One-Parent Families, supra footnote 40, para 145. 6 4 , Supra, footnote 12 at p 291. ^HEIS.' f ° o t n o t e 51 at p 290. 66* Loc. cit.« 67. Lawson, supra, footnote 51 at p 289. 68. Sujvra, footnote 51 at p 284. 69. Lawson, suj_ra, footnote 51 at p 281. 70. Loc. c i t . 71. Loc. c i t . 72. Report of the Committee on One-Parent Families, supra, footnote 40, para 7.30. 73. A. A g e l l , 'Sweden' i n Samuels, supra, footnote 51, p 174. 74. Loc. c i t . . 75. Loc. c i t . . 76. Lawson i l l u s t r a t e s how this i s achieved i n Denmark i n the case of an unmarried mother with two children earning two thirds of average male earnings, supra, footnote 51, p 283. 77. A g e l l , supra, footnote 73 at p 172. 78. Ibid at p 173. 7 9 . Supra, footnote 63, para 140. 80. Lawson, supra, footnote 51 at p 278. 81. See Cockburn and Heclo, supra, footnote 63, paras 137-138. 82. R.M. Titmuss, Essays on the Welfare State (2nd ed) (London: Unwin University Books 1963) pp 42-43. 83. Loc. c i t . . 8^* Sujpjra, footnote 2. 85. M. No r r i s , 'Those we l i k e to help' In New Society on 6th J u l y 1978, discussed i n Hennessy, supra footnote 2, at p 253. 210 86. Schlackmann Research Organisation, 'Report on Research on Public Attitudes towards the Supplementary Benefit System' (London: Schlackmann Research Organisation 1978), discussed i n Hennessy, supra, footnote 2 at p 254. 8 7 « Sugra, footnote 12 at p 279. 88. Glendon, supra, footnote 12 at pp 276-277. 211 CHAPTER 1 INDEPENDENCE FOR SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES I n a l l o c a t i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y o f s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s , the g o a l s h o u l d be to e n s u r e t h a t the s i n g l e p a r e n t w i l l e v e n t u a l l y be a b l e to make h i s o r h e r own way i n the w o r l d , a t l e a s t by the t ime the y o u n g e s t c h i l d has a t t a i n e d the age o f m a j o r i t y . M o s t s i n g l e p a r e n t s wou ld embrace s u c h an a im e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y , p r o v i d e d t h a t the r h e t o r i c o f s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y i s tempered by an acknowledgement o f the o b s t a c l e s to i n d e p e n d e n c e p r e s e n t l y p l a c e d i n the way o f s i n g l e p a r e n t s . Few s i n g l e p a r e n t s want to d e p e n d , whether on the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t o r on the S t a t e , and the v a s t m a j o r i t y wou ld welcome p o l i c i e s d e s i g n e d to a v o i d t h e i r m a r g i n a l i s a t i o n by s o c i e t y . I t s h o u l d be no ted t h a t the g o a l f o r p o l i c y w h i c h I am a d v o c a t i n g i s i n d e p e n d e n c e a t a f u t u r e d a t e f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t , n o t f o r the f a m i l y as a w h o l e . T h e r e i s bound to be a p e r i o d o f t r a n s i t i o n o f v a r y i n g d u r a t i o n i m m e d i a t e l y a f t e r the c r i s i s o f the o n s e t o f s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d . T h i s i s so however the e p i s o d e o f s i n g l e p a r e n t h o o d b e g i n s . W i t h b i r t h o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e , s e p a r a t i o n , w idowhood, t h e r e w i l l be a p e r i o d o f a d j u s t m e n t . Immediate i n d e p e n d e n c e f rom S t a t e and n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t i s n o t a r e a l i s t i c a i m . N e i t h e r i s i t s u g g e s t e d t h a t we s h o u l d a i m f o r a s i t u a t i o n i n w h i c h the s i n g l e p a r e n t i s t a k i n g t o t a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r h i m s e l f o r h e r s e l f and f o r the c h i l d r e n , to the e x c l u s i o n o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t and the S t a t e . The n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t must acknowledge a p e r s o n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to c o n t r i b u t e to the c h i l d r e n ' s m a i n t e n a n c e and the S t a t e 212 a c o l l e c t i v e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to i t s p o t e n t i a l l y d i s a d v a n t a g e d young c i t i z e n s . The r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e s e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i s p r o b l e m a t i c a l b u t t h e i r c o n t i n u e d c o - e x i s t e n c e i s a d v o c a t e d n e v e r t h e l e s s . We a r e some way f r o m a p p r o v i n g o f an i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c m o r a l i t y w h i c h a l l o w s p e o p l e to a b s o l v e t h e m s e l v e s f rom r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e i r c h i l d r e n s i m p l y b e c a u s e t h e y no l o n g e r l i v e i n the same h o u s e h o l d . I t i s t o l e r a b l y c l e a r t h a t , i n v e r y many c a s e s , the o b t a i n i n g o f an o r d e r f o r c h i l d s u p p o r t a g a i n s t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t and the r i g o r o u s e n f o r c e m e n t o f the o r d e r w i l l n o t m a t e r i a l l y a l t e r the s i n g l e p a r e n t ' s s i t u a t i o n . T h i s i s b e c a u s e , so o f t e n , payments f rom the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t a r e s i m p l y s e t a g a i n s t s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e payments r e c e i v e d f rom the S t a t e . T h i s , i n i t s e l f , i s a d i s i n c e n t i v e to the s i n g l e p a r e n t to seek a f i n a n c i a l c o n t r i b u t i o n to the m a i n t e n a n c e o f the c h i l d r e n f rom the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . I f one a c c e p t s t h a t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s h o u l d c o n t r i b u t e , s u c h d i s i n c e n t i v e s s h o u l d be removed . I f the b a s i s f o r a r g u i n g t h a t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s h o u l d c o n t r i b u t e i s t h a t i t i s f o r the good o f the c h i l d r e n t h a t s u c h a l i n k i s p r e s e r v e d o r , more g e n e r a l l y , t h a t i t a c c o r d s w i t h w i d e l y h e l d n o t i o n s o f p a r e n t a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , the remova l o f d i s i n c e n t i v e s to the s i n g l e p a r e n t p r e s e n t s no p r o b l e m . I t i s t h o s e who i n s i s t t h a t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t must pay i n o r d e r to s a v e p u b l i c money who w i l l b a u l k a t the s u g g e s t i o n t h a t payments r e c e i v e d f r o m the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s h o u l d be d i s r e g a r d e d when c a l c u l a t i n g an e n t i t l e m e n t to payments f rom the S t a t e . T h e r e i s the p o s s i b i l i t y o f compromise between the two p o s i t i o n s , namely a p a r t i a l d i s r e g a r d , and t h i s i s p r o b a b l y the b e s t s o l u t i o n . O f 213 the payments r e c e i v e d f rom the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t , the s i n g l e p a r e n t s h o u l d be a b l e to r e t a i n , l e t us s a y , 60% w i t h o u t a f f e c t i n g e n t i t l e m e n t to s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e . T h i s would g i v e a much-needed i n c e n t i v e to the s i n g l e p a r e n t to pu t i n p l a c e and e n f o r c e an o r d e r f o r c h i l d s u p p o r t w h i l s t p r e s e r v i n g the S t a t e ' s i n d e p e n d e n t f i n a n c i a l i n t e r e s t i n a s s i s t i n g the s i n g l e p a r e n t i n d o i n g s o . T h e r e i s g r e a t s c o p e f o r the S t a t e to assume an enhanced r o l e i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the o b t a i n i n g o f c h i l d s u p p o r t f r o m n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t s . I t i s to be welcomed i f the S t a t e can r e l i e v e the s i n g l e p a r e n t o f some r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n t h i s a r e a . O t h e r w i s e , the e x p e n d i t u r e o f s c a r c e f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e s , t ime and energy can seem too d a u n t i n g a p r o s p e c t f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t . The S t a t e ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y s h o u l d n o t be l i m i t e d to p r o v i d i n g a s s i s t a n c e i n the c o n f l i c t - r i d d e n a r e a o f e n f o r c e m e n t b u t i n t e r v e n t i o n s h o u l d t a k e p l a c e much e a r l i e r . I t s h o u l d n o t be the c a s e t h a t s i n g l e p a r e n t s f a i l to o b t a i n o r d e r s to w h i c h they a r e e n t i t l e d due to i n t i m i d a t i o n o r o t h e r d i s c o u r a g e m e n t s , and a s s i s t a n c e i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the o b t a i n i n g o f the o r d e r s h o u l d be a v a i l a b l e , p e r h a p s most a p p r o p r i a t e l y t h r o u g h an improved s y s t e m o f l e g a l a i d . C o m p u t e r i s e d r e c o r d s o f o r d e r s would f a c i l i t a t e e n f o r c e m e n t , w h i c h s h o u l d n o t s i m p l y be r e t r o s p e c t i v e , l i m i t e d to a r r e a r s a l r e a d y a c c r u e d . The p e r i o d i c n a t u r e o f s u p p o r t payments can l e a d , i n the c a s e o f r e c a l c i t r a n t p a y e r s , to r e p e a t e d , t i m e - c o n s u m i n g e f f o r t s a t e n f o r c e m e n t . Once e n f o r c e m e n t has had to be u n d e r t a k e n , a s y s t e m o f p r o s p e c t i v e e n f o r c e m e n t s h o u l d be p u t i n o p e r a t i o n whereby the payments a r e d e d u c t e d f rom wages by the p a y e r ' s employer and t h i s s h o u l d c o n t i n u e u n t i l the p a y e r c a n c o n v i n c e the r e g i s t r a r o f the c o u r t t h a t he w i l l pay v o l u n t a r i l y . 214 W i t h r e s p e c t to the s u p p o r t o f c h i l d r e n i n s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s , i t i s u n n e c e s s a r y to e x p r e s s a p r e f e r e n c e between p u b l i c and p r i v a t e means o f s u p p o r t f o r the r o l e o f b o t h forms o f s u p p o r t can be enhanced as o u t l i n e d a b o v e . The c h o i c e i s n o t so much between p u b l i c and p r i v a t e means o f s u p p o r t as between whether the s u p p o r t i s to improve the s t a n d i n g o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y o r n o t . U n l e s s t h e r e i s f a r g r e a t e r p u b l i c i n v e s t m e n t to b o l s t e r the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t ' s f i n a n c i a l o b l i g a t i o n , s u p p o r t f r o m t h i s q u a r t e r w i l l c o n t i n u e to be i n s i g n i f i c a n t f o r many s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . The r e f o r m s w h i c h have been s u g g e s t e d , i n p a r t i c u l a r the g e n e r o u s d i s r e g a r d o f s u p p o r t payments f o r s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e p u r p o s e s , a r e d e s i g n e d to make b o t h forms o f s u p p o r t m e a n i n g f u l i t ems i n the b u d g e t o f the s i n g l e p a r e n t f a m i l y . L e t us now c o n s i d e r f u r t h e r how the i n d e p e n d e n c e o f the i n d i v i d u a l s i n g l e p a r e n t c a n be a s s u r e d , i n p a r t i c u l a r once the c h i l d r e n have r e a c h e d m a j o r i t y . T h i s i s a w o r t h y a im o f s o c i a l p o l i c y b e c a u s e i t s e e k s to a v o i d the s i n g l e p a r e n t b e i n g pushed to the p e r i p h e r y o f s o c i e t y , d e p e n d e n t on the the S t a t e o r pe rhaps a fo rmer s p o u s e , w i t h few means o f i m p r o v i n g h i s o r h e r s i t u a t i o n o t h e r t h a n by f i n d i n g a n o t h e r p a r t n e r . The c i t i z e n i n t h i s p o s i t i o n s h o u l d have o t h e r a l t e r n a t i v e s b e s i d e s f i n d i n g a new p a r t n e r . The q u e s t i o n o f r e - i n t e g r a t i o n s h o u l d n e v e r a r i s e b e c a u s e the s i t u a t i o n whereby s i n g l e p a r e n t s a r e m a r g i n a l i s e d s h o u l d n o t be a l l o w e d to o c c u r . T h e r e f o r e , the p r e s e n t s i t u a t i o n whereby many s i n g l e p a r e n t s f i n d t h e m s e l v e s u n a b l e to b r e a k i n t o the l a b o u r market once t h e i r c h i l d r e n have d e p a r t e d must be a v o i d e d . The p o l i c i e s r e q u i r e d i n o r d e r to g i v e s i n g l e p a r e n t s an o p p o r t u n i t y to c o n t i n u e to e a r n a r e n e c e s s a r i l y r a d i c a l . The key i s t o 215 p e r m i t and to e n c o u r a g e a range o f commitment to employment . I n a l a b o u r marke t s t i l l w i d e l y commit ted to the f o r t y hour week and to c a r e e r s t r u c t u r e s w h i c h do n o t accommodate b r e a k s i n a p e r s o n ' s w o r k i n g l i f e , t h i s i s a c o n t r o v e r s i a l i d e a . What i s e n v i s a g e d i s an e x p l i c i t r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t s p o u s e s a r e n o t l i a b l e to m a i n t a i n e a c h o t h e r f o r the r e s t o f t h e i r l i v e s , d e s p i t e the s e v e r a n c e o f the m a r i t a l b o n d , and t h a t the s p o u s e who i s f i n a n c i a l l y d e p e n d e n t must seek to e a r n as soon as p o s s i b l e , bu t n o t to an e x t e n t w h i c h p r e j u d i c e s the w e l f a r e o f the c h i l d r e n . T h e r e f o r e , where y o u n g e r c h i l d r e n a r e i n v o l v e d , a f u l l f o r t y hour week i s p r o b a b l y i n a p p r o p r i a t e . Commitment to employment c a n i n c r e a s e as the demands o f the c h i l d r e n l e s s e n . I n p a r a l l e l w i t h f l e x i b i l i t y o v e r w o r k i n g h o u r s , t h e r e w i l l have to be a g r e a t e r w i l l i n g n e s s to a c c e p t the p o s s i b i l i t y o f j o b - s h a r i n g . G r e a t e r p r o v i s i o n o f a f f o r d a b l e d a y - c a r e f a c i l i t i e s i s a l s o e s s e n t i a l . The e x t e n t to w h i c h d a y - c a r e p l a c e s a r e a v a i l a b l e w i l l to a l a r g e e x t e n t d e t e r m i n e the number o f h o u r s w h i c h i t i s p r a c t i c a b l e f o r a s i n g l e p a r e n t to commit to employment . I d e a l l y , by the t ime the c h i l d r e n r e a c h t h e i r t e e n a g e y e a r s , the s i n g l e p a r e n t w i l l be r e a d y f o r f u l l - t i m e employment . I t may be p r o t e s t e d t h a t t h i s p r o g r e s s i o n i n t o f u l l - t i m e work demands a r e v o l u t i o n i n the l a b o u r m a r k e t . H o s t s o f d i s c r i m i n a t o r y and i n f l e x i b l e p r a c t i c e s wou ld have to be r e f o r m e d . I n p a r t i c u l a r , a t t i t u d e s t o women i n the l a b o u r m a r k e t would have to undergo p r o f o u n d c h a n g e . The answer to t h i s i s n o t s i m p l y t h a t the l a b o u r marke t i s r i p e f o r r e f o r m . I t i s t h a t , u n l e s s i t i s re fo rmed to accommodate the needs o f those p o t e n t i a l employees who have r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r c h i l d r e n , the much v a u n t e d i d e a l o f i n d e p e n d e n c e f o r those who have d i v o r c e d o r had a 216 c h i l d o u t s i d e m a r r i a g e w i l l have no s u b s t a n c e . The c l e a n b r e a k between a d u l t s w h i c h i s now so f a s h i o n a b l e w i l l , i n r e a l i t y , be u n a c h i e v a b l e u n t i l the h o s t i l i t y o f the l a b o u r market i s t e m p e r e d . U n t i l t h e n , t h e r e w i l l be no v i a b l e a l t e r n a t i v e f o r the s i n g l e p a r e n t b u t d e p e n d e n c e , whe ther on a f o r m e r s p o u s e , f a m i l y , f r i e n d s o r the S t a t e . 217 BIBLIOGRAPHY A n n u a l A b s t r a c t o f S t a t i s t i c s ( L o n d o n : C e n t r a l S t a t i s t i c a l O f f i c e 1988 ) . B . A r n o t i , ' C h i l d r e n i n Low Income F a m i l i e s ' i n C a n a d i a n ^Soc ia l T r e n d s ( W i n t e r 1986 ) . C . Banks and O . L . B r o a d h u r s t , e d s , S t u d i e s i n P s y c h o l o g y ( L o n d o n : London U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s 1965 ) . W. B a r r i n g t o n B a k e r , J . E e k e l a a r , C . G i b s o n and S . R a i k e s , The M a t r i m o n i a l ^ J u r i s d i c t i o n o f R e g i s t r a r s ( O x f o r d : S o c i a l S c i e n c e R e s e a r c h C o u n c i l 1977 ) . 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C a s s e t t y , e d , The P a r e n t a l C h i l d - S u p p o r t O b l i g a t i o n ( L e x i n g t o n : L e x i n g t o n Books 1983 ) . Changes i n Income i n C a n a d a : 1970-1980 ( O t t a w a : M i n i s t e r o f S u p p l y and S e r v i c e s 1984) S t a t i s t i c s Canada r e f e r e n c e 9 9 - 9 4 1 . D . L . Chambers , Mak i n g F a t h e r s Pay ( C h i c a g o : U n i v e r s i t y o f C h i c a g o 1 9 7 9 ) . D . L . Chambers , ' T h e Coming C u r t a i l m e n t o f C o m p u l s o r y C h i l d S u p p o r t ' (1982) 80 M i c h i g a n Law Review 1614. E . W. C o o e y , ' T h e E x e r c i s e o f J u d i c i a l D i s c r e t i o n i n the Award o f A l i m o n y ' (1939) 6 Law and Contemporary Prob lems 213 . R . F . D r i n a n , 'Has J o h n F r a n k p r o p o s e d a R a d i c a l R e f o r m o f F a m i l y Law?* (1969) 47 Texas Law Rev iew 9 9 1 . 218 D. 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E s p e n s h a d e , I n v e s t i n g i n C h i l d r e n (Wash ing ton D C : The U r b a n I n s t i t u t e 1984 ) . T . F e r g u s o n , The Young D e l i n q u e n t i n h i s S o c i a l S e t t i n g ( O x f o r d : O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s 1952 ) . F i n a l R e p o r t o f the Committee on E n f o r c e m e n t o f M a i n t e n a n c e O r d e r s i n Canada ( F e d e r a l - P r o v i n c i a l Commit tee on E n