The term "prior to commencement" is not defined in the GA Code or in the cases by the court and thus would have its ordinary meaning. The ordinary meaning is that this incident had to occur before they could bring charges, it does not say in what period before they could bring charges and does not say anything else, so as long as the time period was before they brought charges, then it was prior to commencement of the action .
However, OCGA § 19-7-1(b)(3), states that parental power can be lost by "[f]ailure to provide necessaries for the child or abandonment of the child." In Sims v. Sims, 171 Ga.App. 99, 100, 318 S.E.2d 805 (1984), the court found that "n order to find an abandonment, there must be sufficient evidence of an actual desertion, accompanied by an intention to sever entirely, as far as possible to do so, the parental relation, throw off all obligations growing out of the same, and forego all parental duties and claims. [Cits.]" In the case of B.D.C., In re, 348 S.E.2d 548, 180 Ga.App. 87 (Ga. App., 1986), the court found that it was abundantly clear that during 1982, 1983, and 1984, the father completely failed to support the child, the court stated that the abandonment had to be contemporaneous with the filing of the petition, meaning in the same year the petition was filed. The BDC court found that because the father paid $4,000 in support less than one month before the petition was filed they stated that abandonment or a failure to provide necessities must be found as of the time the petition is filed, and thus the fact that he may not have paid in previous years made the evidence insufficient to find abandonment or failure to provide necessities based on the record before us. Sale v. Leachman, 218 Ga. 834, 131 S.E.2d 185 (1963).
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