THE SURVEY OF CHILD SUPPORT AWARDS: INTERIM ANALYSIS OF PHASE 2 DATA

(October 1998 to March 2000)

CSR-2001-2E

PART 1: DIVORCE AND THE PROCESSING OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS

2.0 INTRODUCTION

2.1 Study Approach

The information in this part of the report was obtained from a variety of sources. These sources include site visits, telephone interviews and written materials provided by the various jurisdictions. The following court sites were involved in the study:

  • St. John's, Newfoundland;
  • Charlottetown and Summerside, Prince Edward Island;
  • Halifax, New Glasgow, Sydney, Truro and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia;
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick;
  • Ottawa, Toronto and London, Ontario;
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba;
  • Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan;
  • Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta;
  • Victoria, British Columbia;
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; and
  • Whitehorse, Yukon.

As Quebec's system of determining child support awards differs from that of other Canadian jurisdictions, a separate study was designed to collect and analyze its data. Therefore, there are no Quebec data in this report.

This part of the report presents a brief overview of the study sites as of July 2000. Section 3.0 discusses the type of court structure and the provincial or territorial legislation related to divorce and child support. Section 4.0 provides a detailed description of the process of granting a divorce and related matters such as child support. Section 5.0 presents issues related to the administration of divorce and child support orders, and discusses similarities and differences among the sites.

2.2 Limitations of the Study

The findings presented in this part of the report are subject to limitations. A major limitation is the variation in the sources and amounts of information available in different localities. Another is caused by constantly changing circumstances with regard to child support.

All of the sites involved in this study have taken some steps towards formally implementing the Federal Child Support Guidelines. However, some procedures, policies and practices are still evolving. Different sites are at different stages in implementing the Guidelines, and the approach at any given site is often unique. This limits our ability to directly compare the sites and suggests that the picture we have of any one site may not be valid for very long. The information contained in Part 1 represents the situation in most sites as of July 2000. In some cases, information after July 2000 was available and is included.

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