Equal Shared Parenting
Georgia's children are suffering under our current outdated legal system. In divorce and legitimation actions, parents are pitted against each other and the child is often put in the middle of it. The "winning" parent will receive most of the parenting time and a tax free payment each month, while the other is reduced to a visitor with a large after-tax monthly obligation. To be victorious, the parents must both spend tens of thousands of dollars on courts and legal fees that could be better spent on the child. Scientific studies show that this conflict, as well as the primary-parent/visitor-parent relationship is bad for children's well-being. These studies also show that a default of equal parenting time is in children's best interests in the vast majority of cases.
We proudly worked closely with a bi-partisan group of legislators to introduce HB1140 in 2020 and will work to ensure that it becomes law in Georgia!
Did you know that the 45% of children and 77% of black children born to an unmarried woman in Georgia do not have a legal father? That child's natural father must actually sue the child's mother in Superior Court to become the legal father? Even fathers who sign the acknowledgment of paternity and birth certificate, pay court-ordered child support, and have taken a DNA test administered by the State have no legal rights to the child and the child has no legal right to the father. Children of unmarried parents are even precluded from inheriting from their father if he dies.
For many men, court (especially family court) is a scary place that is to be avoided at all costs. For other men, the prospect of crushing legal fees associated with a court case is infeasible. The result is that the children grow up without their father in their lives and the fatherless statistics are tragic.
It is not the child's fault that their parents were not married. There is no logical reason that a child of a father who has acknowledged paternity, signed a birth certificate, taken a DNA test, and/or been subject to a child support order should not have the same legal rights to his or her father as a child who was born to married parents.
Child Support Reform
For many non-custodial parents, excessive child support payments and aggressive enforcement actions destroy the parent-child relationship. We believe that the child support system can be modified to work for all of Georgia's children. We are active in exploring the following changes:
Ensuring that child support orders are manageable and do not create a hurdle for the payor in having a meaningful relationship with his or her children or leave the sole financial responsibility on one parent;
Ensuring enforcement actions are reasonable and do not create a hurdle for the payor in having a meaningful relationship with his or her children or interfering with their ability to support themselves and their children (i.e. license suspensions, incarceration, passport revocation);
Permitting the Department of Human Services to issue a parenting plan order (sometimes called a "visitation schedule") at the time that child support is established so that parents are not subject to an expensive legal battle in Superior Court.