Thursday, July 14, 2011

Single fathers successfully lead many households in Georgia

Professional man taking his child to school or daycare.jpgFathers play a crucial role in raising children, and data from the U.S. Census backs that up. Census data showed that Georgia fathers are taking child custody following divorces and legitimation proceedings at an increasing rate. Families led by single fathers shot up 45 percent in the recent census. Those headed up by single mothers took a 35 percent hike in the last decade.

This trend is not unique to Georgia. Since 1990, the number of single dads has shot up from 1.5 million to 2.79 million. This figure does not include the number of gay men that are raising children and cannot officially marry, thus slightly skewing the figure. However, this is also an issue involved with calculating the number of families led by single mothers.

Professionals attribute this trend to the fact that society may be bucking traditional gender roles that state men focus on work and women base their daily lives around raising children. Men are finding themselves capable of becoming the primary caregiver to their children, and not designating that role for a woman.

At the same time, a number are women are discovering that they don't need- or in some cases, necessarily want - to be the sole provider for a child when a marriage disintegrates.

The increase also speaks to the fact that Georgia courts are becoming more open to giving child custody to a man. Experts say that there is little difference between single mothers and fathers as they face similar responsibilities and time constraints.

As the census data demonstrates, the important roles fathers play is becoming increasingly recognized by Georgia courts and society as a whole.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "More single dads in charge," Gracie Bonds Staples, 18 June 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Terrell Owens sued in Fulton County for child support

terrell-owens 2.jpgIn May, we discussed how the ongoing National Football League lockout could affect athletes' child support and alimony obligations. During the lockout, most players will not be earning the same amount of income they were making at the time their support obligations were calculated. This could harm their ability to pay.

Now, we are receiving reports of just such a situation in Fulton County. Melanie Paige Smith, an ex of NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens, submitted court papers on June 20 against Owens, claiming he will not pay all the $5,000 he owes her for monthly child support.

Allegedly, financial advisers for Owens have told Smith earlier that he no longer intends on paying the full sum. Smith's attorney alleged that Owens has "failed and refused to pay the full amount of child support in June 2011." Smith's attorney has also said that Smith doesn't begrudge Owens, but would like to continue receiving the amount the couple had earlier agreed upon.

In addition to the full amount of child support, Smith is also requesting that Owens pay her attorney fees and other expenses incurred in the efforts to enforce the court's May 2007 child support order.

Meanwhile, Owens is on the mend after undergoing knee surgery. However, he is a free agent and won't be able to join a new team as long as the NFL lockout is still in effect.

The NFL lockout has put many players like Terrell Owens in a precarious situation. If they simply stop paying court ordered child support, they can be held in contempt of court, which can have serious consequences. However, there are other options available for people who have suffered an involuntary loss of income. A parent who has experienced an involuntary loss of income can request a downward modification of child support payments from a court.

If you have questions about how your child support payments are affected by the loss of a job or a loss of income, an experienced family law attorney can help you understand your legal options and defend your rights in a court of law.

Source: Associated Press, "Woman says Owens fails to pay some child support," Jeff Martin, 6/29/2011