How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question

Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 89343
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
10285032
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Law Educator, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Im charged with Child Abandonment in Georgia. The charge is

Customer Question

I'm charged with Child Abandonment in Georgia. The charge is ridiculous since I've paid over $30,000 in support, moved across country to live closer to my children (3 miles away), and have charged my ex with contempt for her failure to provide visitation. Unfortunately, I live in a small county where my ex's wealth and influence are apparently influencing the Solicitor's Office. To the point, there must be total abandonment (no money, food, shelter...etc) for 30 days prior to commencement of prosecution. The Solicitor's Office position is that they can pick any 30 days within the Statute of Limitations (2yrs.), and not the 30 days immediately prior to commencement. They think they've found a 30 day window, not 31, at a time when I lost my job and my ex denied visitation. Thus, I am charged. I can't find any case law on the issue probably because no one would normally face the same malicious prosecution. My question is how can I find out what "prior to commencement" means. Thank You.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
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).


I hope you found my answer helpful, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button above for my answer. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving a bonus and positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated!

Please remember this is a dialog if you have follow up questions please use the REPLY button and ask. If you have additional questions, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

There can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break.

PLEASE NOTE WELL: IF YOU CLICK OPT OUT I CANNOT REPLY TO YOUR FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS AND YOU MAY NEVER GET ANY REPLY OR IT WILL DELAY MY ABILITY TO REPLY TO YOU. Also, if you use RELIST, I MAY NOT SEE YOUR RESPONSE AND IT WILL DELAY YOUR REPLY.

You can always request me through my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/profile.aspx?PF=10285032&FID=39 or beginning your question with “For PaulMJD…”

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Don't quite understand your answer. You can't charge a future crime so prior to commencement must mean for 30 consecutive days up to commencement. ... wouldn't you think? Otherwise, wouldn't you simply say for 30 days in the statute. Thanks.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
My answer was pretty clear, the actual abandonment had to have occurred within the same year they are charging you. I did not say anywhere in my answer you could be charged before the elements of the crime took place. I provided you with the exact words used by the Supreme Court of GA on the issue. They were pretty clear, but it did not say it had to be the immediate 30 days prior to commencement, they just said the abandonment had to occur within the same year as the charges. I didn't make those words up, they were directly from the GA Supreme Court.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
< Last | Next >
  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Fran L.

    JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor

    Satisfied Customers:

    8061
    18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/retiredlawyer/2012-6-6_19326_franL.64x64.jpg Fran L.'s Avatar

    Fran L.

    JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor

    Satisfied Customers:

    8061
    18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    2079
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NA/nathanmoorelaw/2011-5-31_21375_headshotbig.64x64.jpg Nate's Avatar

    Nate

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1625
    Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1434
    30 years legal experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/philip.simmons/2012-6-7_161915_BIGPhilipSimmons.64x64.jpg P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1418
    16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/marshadjd/2009-6-1_194320_marshajd.jpg Marsha411JD's Avatar

    Marsha411JD

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1380
    Licensed attorney with 27 yrs. exp. in criminal law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RO/RobertJDFL/2012-6-6_175352_7538220120606.64x64.jpg RobertJDFL's Avatar

    RobertJDFL

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1300
    Experienced in multiple areas of the law.