Parents sue Ga. over child support jail time

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ATLANTA — A civil rights group has filed a class action lawsuit that aims to secure lawyers for indigent parents who have been jailed or are in danger of being jailed for failing to pay child support.

The lawsuit was filed today in Fulton County Superior Court by the Southern Center for Human Rights on behalf of six parents who couldn't pay child support amid the tough economic times. Several of the plaintiffs have been jailed for months because they cannot pay the fee.

The lawsuit said Georgia law bans authorities from jailing a parent who doesn't have the ability to pay child support. But it says the plaintiffs don't have the opportunity to prove they are indigent because they don't have an attorney.

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walrus4ever
354
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walrus4ever 03/22/11 - 10:22 am
0
0
Debtors prison under the

Debtors prison under the guise of contempt of court. Even the IRS cant jail you for inability to pay. Since most support payers are male noone gives a darn if they rot in jail. Its not about the kids its about punishing those who cant keep up with the financial load upon them. Especially men.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 03/22/11 - 10:59 am
0
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The colony of Georgia in

The colony of Georgia in particular had a number of debtors that came from Europe, many of them supposedly released from debtor's prison, yet we are doing that same thing now. A man who procreates should be responsible for that child or children until the child is of age to take care of himself but putting a parent who cannot pay in jail is more than counterproductive. An acquaintance who had been jailed for that was murdered a few years ago by fellow inmates. How can an individual POSSIBLY earn any money to pay toward child support if he or she is in jail? I think this lawsuit has merit but will cost taxpayers a lot of money to adjudicate, money which would not otherwise be necessary if those people were not jailed. Debtor's prison in the guise of unpaid child support is alive and well in Georgia.

tatela06
0
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tatela06 03/22/11 - 11:00 am
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This is crazy. Even in

This is crazy. Even in financial hardship, people who pay child support can petition to pay lower child support. The fact is, you have to think of the kids themselves. If one of their parents isn't doing their duty and helping to pay for their child, then they should go to jail. What kind of situation do you think the other parent is in if they don't have that child support coming every month? A friend of mine has to pay child support for her 3 kids. When she was without a job, she worked with the courts to lower her payments, and she still struggled. However, she went without food and necessities many times to ensure she made the payments. I bet all these people who are "suing" Ga for going to jail were spending money on drugs, fast-food, and expensive cars.

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 03/22/11 - 11:08 am
0
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Most of the offenders that

Most of the offenders that are in jail could have avoided that if they had taken care of their business prior to incarceration. I do not believe anyone is in jail for missing just one payment. They had plenty of time to work with child support and recovery or petition the courts on their on behalf. I do think it would be a good idea for a panel to be formed of attorneys that can help out of work parents solve these issues before they are incarcerated if they are actively seeking employment or making reduced payments on their unemployment checks.

PR
0
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PR 03/22/11 - 11:48 am
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Georgia is the most backwards
Unpublished

Georgia is the most backwards state when it comes to laws. All the state legislators should be thrown in jail for allowing these laws to exist. Warning to people looking to move to Georgia...DON'T! Move to a more progressive state....like SC.

onlysane1left
216
Points
onlysane1left 03/22/11 - 11:55 am
0
0
I never really understood why

I never really understood why jail time was apart of this anyway. What does it solve? The parent sits and jail and never see the child STILL. Go figure. Personally, I think it's all about the governement's inability to profit off the situation, so they jail you because they can not collect a fee from the support paying parent.

single parent
395
Points
single parent 03/22/11 - 11:56 am
0
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WOW a lot make comments and

WOW a lot make comments and most times they know nothing of the situation except outside information. Like a child mental consultant that has never had children or been around children. So do what I did once with one of my children : I got custody of that child and we seen how fast that support that was so pushed for was pushed! So as you jail someone for this how will the support get paid then? WHat does it do to the jailed, for there is 99% of the time zero knowledge of that persons situation. Sure there are dead beats but thats easy to prove, with a simple google. If you haven't worked in 15 years and steady making babies, then you might be a deadbeat. Oh and trying to get it lowered does cost money, it is NOT free.

realitycheck09
307
Points
realitycheck09 03/22/11 - 01:09 pm
0
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@tatela and oh well - you

@tatela and oh well - you guys miss the point. Georgia jails people who are not paying child support. These people are locked in virtual debtors prison with counsel. Whether or not they actually CAN pay (or are using all their money to buy drugs), they are entitled to due process. The lawsuit is to make sure everyone gets due process before being deprived of their liberty.

4headedbeast
0
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4headedbeast 03/22/11 - 02:57 pm
0
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I deem its a waste of tax

I deem its a waste of tax payer money {once a deadbeat always a deadbeat}to hold a delinquent parent in jail for child support, who can't find work because of a felon conviction,uneducated,and no driver's license.
However, they should jail these deadbeats who are working,have their own business and refuse to make payments.This a fair resolution filed,in court, by Southern Center for Human Rights. Anytime a citizen faces jail time for any offense need representation by a attorney and if you can't afforable one the state by federal law must appointment you a attorney if you are pauper.

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 03/22/11 - 03:22 pm
0
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realitycheck09 I know people

realitycheck09 I know people are locked up with no counsel. I only stated it made more sense to me to have counsel available before they are incarcerated. When you loose your job you should be able to have someone with legal knowledge help you get your payment lowered or defer them till you are able to pay. Most people in jail did not seek help until they were months behind. Most people keep getting further and further behind before doing anything proactive.

mllange
156
Points
mllange 03/22/11 - 03:34 pm
0
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I have been dealing with this

I have been dealing with this for a very long time. My children's father has been on child support for years now. Has not paid one Dime. Does not care to pay. Has a job that pay's under the table. I have updated my CS rep with his address and job information. They told me to send them a picture. I sent them a picture. He has an outstanding warrant and has been pulled over already and went to jail but was let out the same day. When the officers went to his home at the address provided, his girlfriend told them he didn't reside there. They never pursued him again. Noone Cares. There are some men out there who really do try and they are just unable to financially. But there are some who just don't care. And the ones who don't care, are the ones that get away with it. I work full time, don't qualify for any government benefits, yet he gets food stamps and doesn't pay a dime in child support. How's that for justice?

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