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Assessing the Impact of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs)

Assessing the Impact of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs)

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Published by Omar Ha-Redeye
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Published by: Omar Ha-Redeye on Jun 05, 2012
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07/18/2014

 
Assessing the Impactof the
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v
isory
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del
ines
(SSAG)
Final Report
January 3
0,
2
01
2Prepared
for:
Department of Ju
st
ice Canada
WINNIPEG
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NTON
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www.pra.ca
 
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the
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30, 2012
Table
of
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t
ents
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Exec
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sunlmary..................................................
..
.
....
............................
....
............................... 1
1.0 Introduction...........
...
................................
.
.
...
.........
..
..
..
........
..
..............................
..
I
I.
J
Structure
of
th
ereport
..
..............
..
.......................................
..
...................................1 2.0TheLegislativeFramework.....................
....
.....................................................
...
.
..
...........22
.1
Overview
of
theSpousal Support AdvisoryGuide
li
nes .......................
..
.................2 2
.2
Researchissuesand questions..................................................................................6
3.0 Methodo
logy
.
.....
.....................................................
..
...................................
.....
................
..
7
3.
2Methodology considerations andlimitations ..........................................................
10
4.0Findings ...........................................................................................
..
..........................
...
...
II
4.1
UseoftheSSAG
..........
....
....
..
......
..
..............
..
....
.....................................................
11
4.2Impact
of
theSSAG
..
................................................................
..
.......
...
..................
25
4.3Unexpectedimpacts................................................
..
..............................................34 5.0 Conclusions...............
..
.....................................
..
..
....
..
...........
..
..
..
...................................
..
36
5
.1
Useor
th
e
SSA
G
.
.......
..
....................................................
..
.....................
..
............ 36
5.2
Impactsofthc
SSAG(intendedandunintended)....................................
..
...
..
......
..
37Rcfcrcnces...................
....
.................................................
..
.....................
..
...
....
..
......................
..
...39Appendix A-Research matrixAppendixB-Key informant interviewguides Appendix C-SurveyinstrumentAppendixD-Additional surveydatatables
 
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CanadaA
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lt
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off"e
SSAG-
Jmlllary 10,2
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Executive
summary
Introduction
11
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Th
eSpousal Support AdvisoryGuidelines (SSAG) are
{he
outeome
of
along-term projectfunded
by
theDepartment
of
JusticeCanada, whichwasco
mm
enced
to
exploreways
of
bringing moreco
ns
istency andpredictabilityto
th
edetermination
of
spous
al
support.TheSSAGaredesigned to be usedwithin
th
eexisting legislativeframeworkto
:li
dlawyers,mcdialors,judges,andspouses
in
decisi
ons
abouttheamount and duration
of
spousalsuppo
rt,
after afinding
of
entitlement.Assuggested bytheirtitle,
th
e SSAG are intended
to
be
used on avoluntarybasis only. TheDepa
rt
me
nt
ofJusticeh
as
hiredPRAInc.
to
conductaresearch study
to
eva
lu
ate
th
e currentusc
of
theSSAG, and to assess theimpact
of
theSSAGontheprocess
of
detcmliningthe amountand duration
of
spous
al
suppo
rt.
Overview
of
the
SSAG
ProfessorCarol
Ro
gerson(Fac
ulL
y
of
L
aw
,U
ni
versity
of
Toronto)andProfessor
Ro
ll
icThompson(DalhousieLawSchool)werereta
ined
by
theDepartment
of
Justicein 2001
to
dircct
tilt:
project. TheDepartmclll also establisheda
t h i r t
e e
n~pcrson
Advisory Working Group onFamilyLawIssuescomposed
of
lawyers, judges, andmediatorsfromacross
th
e countryto advise
011
th
isp
rojec
t
tt
S
we
ll
as ono
th
cr
fam
il
ylaw matter
s.
Aftermuchbackground work and discussion,theDraftSSAGwere
re
leasedin January2005. Over50,000 copies
of
theDraH proposalwered
ow
nloaded from the Departmentwebsitein the first yeara
ft
er
it
srelease.Thiswasfollowedbyfurther discussionand feedbackfrom stakeholdersacross the countr
y.
InJuly2008,thefinalversion
of
the SSAG wasreleased aswell asa User Guide.TheAdviso
ry
Guidelines arcintendedas apracticnltooltoassistspouses,lawyers,mediators, andjudgesin detemliningthe amountandduration
of
spousal supportin typicalcases. Widespreaduse
of
themwouldthen lead
to
fourobjectives:
....
reducingconflict andcncouragingsettlement;
iii-
creating consistency andfairness;
II-
red
uci
ng costsand improving efficiency;and
II-
providinga basic structurefor judicialelaboration. TheSSAG incorporate
th
ebasicprinciples
of
compensation and need thattheSupreme Court
of
Ca
nadahas identified
as
the basis for spousalsupportunderthe Divorce Act,buttheyprovidea morestructuredway
of
implementing thcseprinciplesthroughf
onn
ul
asbased
0
11
sharingspecified percentages
of
spousalincomes. The Guidelinesincludet
wo
main
fo
rmulas (
th
ewith-childformulaandthe without-child fonnul
..
),along
wi
th
variationsandsupplementary formulas,toaid
in
dete
rm
iningtheamount and duration
of
spousalsupport awa
rds.
These formulasproduceranges
in
whichthe amountand
du
ration
of
awards
!.:all
be located(Rogerson
&
Thompson,2006).
Methodology

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