Amy Morton, at the political blog Tondee’s Tavern, had the following comment on House Bill 369, which awaits the Governor’s signature before it can become law:

Right now, in Georgia, we don’t let fourteen year olds drive, buy cigarettes or drink alcohol, but if their parents are divorced, we let them decide with which parent they wish to live.

Basically, if a fourteen year old elects to live with a given parent, they can do that unless the parent is deemed unfit. Children as young as 11 have some say so in the matter. While this might seem like a good idea, usually, it’s not.

As a family therapist, I see children as young as six struggle with the burden of one day having to "pick" between their parents. How do they know? Their parents tell them.  I have watched some parents "work on" children for years, lobbying for the child to "pick them." Yes, it is emotional abuse, but it happens all the time. And, of course, there are no fourteen year olds who would simply choose to live with the parent who gave them greater freedom, or promised the cool car.

If the Governor signs HB 369, then this, along with a lot of other things about child custody, would change. While this bill is not "all good," I am thrilled to see some common sense revisions to the current "election" provisions for teens. Under the new law, teens would still have the right to elect, but the court could consider "the best interest" of the child, and teens could only make such an election once every two years-possibly curbing revolving door parenting.  This is one good thing that came out of this otherwise horrible session.

SOURCE: Tondee’s Tavern