March 17, 2009


Here's todays rant on my cost study




I note the council on social development 190 O'CConnor St has published studies on childrens well being that include data on dysfunctional families, and family income, and depression and psychological trauma. Some data types and uses seems very similar to mine for divorce. I bet they are funded.. And publishing data to prove various issues. In other words being paid to produce a social product. But then their product is not yakety yakety only lobbying. You think another pamphlet that tells you where to find sources on issues compares. Primary data and new material is available.



Since crunching numbers takes so much time I usually draw the line at basic data presentation. Only a very few studies go slightly beyond that at all. They set the stage for later papers which could provide brilliant analysis. I can see where I think they lead. But don't really have time to go there yet with all the time it takes to get the data by myself. From time to time I do try to point out what I figure should be coming with more work.


As regards cost penalties. Already I have some very minor changes in numbers. Which are included below. In terms of further processing ( which I believe I will omit for now ), a simple assumption is that men and women get similar lawyers fees which are 70 % of cost penalties. And that the loser pays a cost penalty to the winner.


Which would result in the following fee schedule for winners and losers ( and may give you beginning insight into how judges balance their art by playing with costs, - I'm not holding my breath ).









Cost Penalties ( in 1000 $s )




All Penalties

Interim Motions

Divorce Trials



Male ( mean / median )

26.7 / 7.4

5.74 / 3.00

59.9 / 21.3

11.3 / 6.2

Female ( mean / median )

17.4 / 5.5

3.49 / 2.00

42.7 / 20.8

11.9 / 6.0


Total ( mean / median )


5.10 / 3.10

56.5 / 21.1

11.3 / 6.2





Lawyers Fees ( in 1000 $s )



All Penalties

Interim Motions

Divorce Trials



Male ( mean / median )

38.1 / 10.6

8.20 / 4.29

85.6 / 30.4

16.1 / 8.9

Female ( mean / median )

24.9 / 7.8

4.98 / 2.86

61.0 / 29.7

17.0 / 9.1


Total ( mean / median )


7.31 / 4.29

80.7 / 30.1

16.1 / 8.9






Men received 78.4 % of all cost penalties, which accounted for 84.5 % of total dollar values. Men paid higher cost penalties in every category except for mean variations where women paid slightly higher. Assuming cost penalties are 70 % of lawyers fees, the average lawyers fee for a full divorce trial is 80.7 K, and the median fee is 30.1 K. A full divorce trial would typically cost a divorcing family at least 60 K. The average lawyers fee for an interim motion would be 7.3 K, and the median fee 4.3 K.. An interim motion would typically cost a divorcing family at least 8 K. The average lawyers fee for a variation would be 16.1 K, and the median fee 8.9 K. A variation would typically cost a divorced family at least 18 K.





Interim Motions

Divorce Trials



Losing Party ( mean / median )

12.43 / 7.29

137.2 / 51.9

27.4 / 15.1

Winning Party ( mean / median )

2.19 / 1.27

24.2 / 9.0

4.8 / 2.7


Both Parties ( mean / median )

14.62 / 8.58

161.4 / 60.2

32.2 / 8.9



The data from this study would show that either lawyers charged men and women differential rates, or judges assigned different percentages of fees as cost penalties. Assuming fees and penalties were equal for both sexes, and the loser recieved a cost penalty of 70 % of the winners fees, the chart above shows how the legal costs of family hearings would be apportioned. The odds are lowest that both partners would be charged above the mean or below the median, so the spread between them would represent the range for most divorces. Actual costs would usually be dependent on complexity and the level of conflict between partners. According to Statistics Canada ( CANSIM table 202-0403 catalogue no. 75-202-XIE  ), the average non divorced family with children and one earner has a 2006 before tax income of 66..3 K. With 2 earners its 93.3 K.The average male lone parent family has an income of 67.1 K, and the average female lone parent family has an income of 40.9 K. Families without kids have an income of 64.5 K with one earner and 91.4 K with 2 earners. Taxes would typically account for 25 35 % of incomes, and it would cost at minimum 15 K per new household to survive for the year. None of these average families can afford the costs of losing an average full divorce without expending more than 2 years disposable income. None of these average families could afford to be the loser in a median full divorce without expending more than a full years income.


Lone parent families with one earner may be the closest analogy to custodial post divorce household incomes. Statistics Canada does not keep figures for divorced non custodial parents. Single and unattached households would not seem to be an appropriate measure. Married families with a single earner might be closer to actual post divorce non custodial incomes, however only some non custodial parents who were formerly single earners in married households would still have an income that high. Many other non custodial spouses came from families with 2 earners.








I stopped there because I'm getting at a complicated point (s).



First already attempted to be descrided, none of these families can afford to lose a divorce trial. The average ( let alone the median ) family can't afford a full litigated divorce. Only the winners can afford it.



Next question, can the average family afford a variation. Mom with the kids gets 40 K before tax after support and baby bonus. She is going to need 20 K minimum to survive with the kids and 10 K for taxes. That leaves her awful short to pay the 15 K median variation losers costs. She can't afford to lose. How about dad. Unfortunately we don't know what the average non custodial dad makes. I suppose if we consider a married single earner family. And assume dad is the earner. And assume his wages stay unchanged after divorce. Then he earns 66.3 K. If he pays 15 K in support, and 15 K in taxes, and needs only 15 K to survive, then he might have 15 K available to lose a median variation motion. He couldn't afford an average variation motion.


Mom can't afford to risk variation loses. A few dads might be able to ( and if they could afford it, might be high enough income they'd lose ).


However, my figures are actual $'s from 2000 to 2007. Lawyers fees have not declined or held constant. Worse than that, average incomes are probably skewed like cost penalties. Median would be lower. And worst of all, not all those non custodial dads were the sole single earner and therefore had that high income. The married single earner figures could be more of an optimal situation ( for dads income anyway ).


So, it's likely at least 2/3's of dads couldn't afford a variation either.



How's that for costs. No average or typical family could afford to lose a divorce trial. Probably over 3/4's of all households could not afford to lose a variation. And it would seem unlikely anyone who had lost a divorce trial ( typically non custodials ) could afford a variation within a couple of years because of the losses from the divorce trial. Further it does not account for extra costs and lost income due to divorce. I doubt I'm being pessimistic. Average litigated divorces kill. Median ones cripple.


At least there might be some hope of affording interim motions.


Talk about being held ransom over your children.



This brings out a major problem. I'm doing a lot of guessing. Because there are no figures on post divorce non custodial incomes ( and lone parent incomes are probably highly skewed by non divorced welfare moms ). GP's spousal data might be considered a ceiling because it does not include the lower income child support only payors and may be skewed to childless. In fact the Thibaudeau tax change removed most hope of it being publicly available. And the femminzation of poverty judicial theory involves the parameter that the man becomes richer after divorce. Endorsed by the Supreme Court. But where's the proof. Numerous feminist studies cited by judges. Thats the proof that drives support awards.


Has anyone read these studies. Can anyone critique them. Dr Zagorsky's wealth study does not show men walking away richer. Dr Feketes book Moral Panic documents femminsts making false studies for gain.


These studies that I have not read and I hear no discussion anyone else has read, drive the Canadian family legal system on financial matters.


I can't combat them because I don't know what they say. Can you.


Sorta like zero tolerance DV and those who have not read Fekete.



But thats how we know dad is a liar trying to squirm out of rightful support obligations and must be imputed when he claims to have been trashed financially in a divorce.



A hopeless picture if I have to research feminists and funding as well as digging stats, when I don't even have time to write up my own.


Maybe cheriton can again be attempted to be interogated on his pre thibaudeau child tax figures that back his book which I couldn't get out of him.



The government does not provide the figures that judges are making their rulings on. You have to go to the published feminists for those. Which is exactly what they do when they train judges.




Myself, Osborne, Cook, Dr Millar,( Schafer ), ... say judge training is critical to bias. Why don't you wish to directly combat something those who have studied say is a key feature to dads getting trashed. Or produce research that actually proves something.




I think for my next CJC complaint I will complain about the C of A judges who refused to hear my systemic discrimination motion, and Scott CJM who said it must be before the court. It would appear one or the other was wrong.




Peter Roscoe