Sunday, April 20, 2008


Marriage Matters: A $112 billion carrot in tax savings [s]


BY Terry Bankert 4/21/08 early edition
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Family fragmentation, specifically divorce and unmarried childbearing, costs U.S. taxpayers more than $112 billion annually. That's the staggering outcome of research released ...(recently)..., to coincide with tax day.[s]

The misery and headache family dysfunctions cause cannot be measured. Here I will talk about an option to a final family fragmentation.[trb] The study was conducted by four policy and research groups, including Institute for American Values and Georgia Family Council.[s]

The report, "The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and All 50 States," breaks down the total by state.[s]

(These)...calculations were based on the assumption that households headed by a single female have relatively high poverty rates, leading to higher spending on welfare, health care, criminal justice and education for those raised in the disadvantaged homes. The $112 billion estimate includes the cost of federal, state and local government programs, and lost tax revenue at all levels of government. Reducing these costs, ... "is a legitimate concern of government, policymakers and legislators."[a]

MICHIGAN RANKED 8TH Michigan ranked eighth in the nation, with a $1.6 billion share of that $112 billion price tag.[s]

Researchers' estimates of the federal, state and local costs to taxpayers arising from family fragmentation include funds spent for the justice system, food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid, child welfare, WIC, Head Start, and school lunch and breakfast programs.[s]

REAL SUFFERING "These numbers represent real people and real suffering," said Randy Hicks, president of Georgia Family Council, in the press release. "We fight problems like racism, poverty and domestic violence because we understand that the stakes are high."[s]

FAMILY FRAGMENTATION Those "stakes" are the real people hurt by family fragmentation, especially the women and children who fall into poverty as a result of divorce or unmarried childbearing.[s]

DIVORCE BRINGS POVERTY TO CHILDREN In Michigan, of the 469,000 children living in poverty, 316,000 of them live in a single-mother household.[s]

Potential risks to children raised in those families, in addition to poverty, include mental and physical illness, infant mortality, lower educational attainment, juvenile delinquency, conduct disorders, adult criminality, and early unwed parenthood.[s]

Sponsors say the study is the first of its kind and hope it will prompt lawmakers to invest more money in programs aimed at strengthening marriages. Two experts not connected to the study said such programs are of dubious merit and suggested that other investments — notably job creation — would be more effective in aiding all types of needy families.[A]

TRY A SEPARATE MAINTENANCE FIRST, GIVE THE MARRIAGE A CHANCE Divorce, that's grim. But there is hope, both from the economic standpoint as well as the social.[s]

According to the report, "even very small increases in stable marriage rates would result in very large returns to taxpayers. For example, a mere 1 percent reduction in rates of family fragmentation would save taxpayers $1.1 billion annually."[s]

Once way to save a MARRIAGE is to request a separate maintenance agreement to allow a cooling off period. This action is also used when the parties have a religious objection to divorce, or want to stay married so that both have continued health care coverage. An action for separate maintenance is filed in the same manner and on the same grounds as a divorce.[m]

When the matter is concluded, the parties are still technically married, but the marital property may be divided, and the court may order spousal support, child support, parenting time and custody.[m]

My observation is that the grass is not greener unless there has been long term absence of the traditional bonds of matrimony, or any incidents of domestic violence , substance abuse or criminality.[trb]

MEDIATION IS ALSO AN OPTION The mediation process can also be used to explore the options to a divorce or for the parties to decide that divorce is the only option. This process is private to the couple and conducted with dignity and respect.[trb]

LAWMAKERS SHOULD MAKE A SEPARATE MAINTENANCE MANDATORY BEFORE DIVORCE. Sponsors say the study is the first of its kind and hope it will prompt lawmakers to invest more money in programs aimed at strengthening marriages. [A]

Or just efforts to save existing marraiges.[trb]

Posted here by Terry Bankert ... Family Mediation and Divorce Practice.
Join my political party of preference,

—where did this stuff come from?

[S] The Sturgis Journal [trb] Comments of Terry Bankert and CAP headlines.

[m] Michigan Family Law Bench Book ICLE 2006 [A] AP


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