Albany Rep in trouble over child support - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany Rep in trouble over child support

June 12, 2003

Albany-- A state legislator is in trouble for not paying child support. State House Representative Lawrence Roberts will face jail time if he doesn't pay up.

Roberts struck an agreement to pay Thursday, but now he wants to change child support laws. Roberts says the courts allows children to become "cash crops" for custodial parents.

Roberts, who was summoned to court this morning, said: "I'm not embarrassed not one bit not at all."

Roberts has been voluntarily paying child support for his 11-year-old son-- at least $300 a month. But that changed in December.

Dougherty County Assistant District Attorney Jeffery Morrow says, "He had a hearing last year in which they applied state child support guidelines like they do everyone's case and they determined based on his income he should pay $404 a month."

Court records show from December 2002 until May 31st, Roberts paid $158.00  a month, money extracted from his legislative paycheck. That's less than half the $404 he was ordered to pay.

Custodial parents can get non paying parents to court by paying a $25.00  processing fee. Then a state paid prosecutor handles the case. Roberts disagrees with the law, "As long as the state allows her (the mother) to use the system to punish people than you will have these problems all the time."

But, the prosecutor says the system is fair, "I've come up with a formula that I think is fair to the non-custodial parents. Everyone has to expect to pay something for the children."

Roberts agrees he has to support his child, and has done so, but the Albany lawmaker wants what he says is fair child support legislation, "I think we've come to a point where the child is a cash crop for custodial parents. Whoever has the child wants to get paid and we have to address that sometime in the future. We have to address that."

But, before that is addressed at the capital, Roberts has to address a court order to pay $500.00 dollars, a percentage of what he owes, by July 3rd, or spend 20 days in the Dougherty County Jail.

Roberts was also ordered to pay an additional $80.00 a month in child support to make up for the $1,634.71 he hasn't paid. Roberts says he also pays child support for three other children.

Posted at 3:15 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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