Friday, April 01, 2005

Changes in child support approved - Georgia

Changes in child support approved ajc.com

Excerpts below: (anything in bold is my commentary, not the authors)

Changes in child support approved
Both parents' pay a factor

Child support payments are usually based on considering only the income of the parent who does not have custody. House Bill 221 would require judges to consider the incomes of both parents when determining child support awards.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) said he believes the legislation will result in less feuding between divorcing parents who view kids as "cash prizes" in contentious divorce and child custody proceedings.

"This bill will be good for all of the children of Georgia," said Julie Batson, president of Georgians for Child Support Reform.

Sen. Steen Miles (D-Decatur) railed against the bill.

"It is about money, pure and simple," Miles said. "It is about bitter dads who don't want to take the responsibility for their children. Bitter second wives who are jealous and envious of those children. We are rushing to judgment to decide that this legislation is going to solve Georgia's child support problems." Bitter dads who don't want to take responsibility? All this bill does is take both parents incomes into account when calculating support- much like many other states.

Miles' dramatics drew a roar of approval from the bill's opponents, watching the debate nearby on a closed-circuit television in the Capitol hallway. Miles and other Democrats tried unsuccessfully to amend — and gut — the bill.

The bill goes into effect July 2006. In the meantime, a commission will be formed to review economic data to come up with a formula for determining child support payments based on the "income shares" model.

Either parent will be able to go to court to have their child support agreement reviewed, if they can show it will change by 15 percent under the new formula.


You can contact Rep Ehrhart by clicking on his name above. This is a fair, common sense bill. Obviously, the incomes of both parents should be considered - both parents are charged with the care of the children, one of them should not get the equivalent of a financial pass.

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