State representative pursues changes to child support laws

State representative pursues changes to child support laws

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Tennessee lawmaker is working to change child support laws.

Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-98) said some of the things he learned about the system prompted him to seek changes and even to take to Facebook Live.

"Some of the things that I learned--and I'm still learning--just didn't sit right with me," Parkinson said.

Parkinson is working on new legislation to change child support policies after he said he met a man in the barber shop who had a problem with the child support system.

He said the man signed a birth certificate for a child and DNA later determined the man was not the father of the child. However, current state law says the man remains financially responsible for the child since he signed the birth certificate.

"He has to pay for the child for the next 18 years," Parkinson said. "I asked him if he's in the child's life, and he said, 'No. I'm not in the child's life, because the child is not mine.'"

Parkinson said the issue sparked his idea to hold a child support town hall meeting and to go live on Facebook about the system and his issues with the current laws.

In just two days, the Facebook Live video received more than 150,000 views. But, Parkinson has since made the decision to take the video down off his page.

"So, what I did in the video was just educate the public about what I'm learning," Parkinson said.

He said he was upset to learn from the Department of Human Services that parents can lose their driver's license and go to jail for past due child support.

"The children are suffering," he said.

Parkinson said parents need to step up and take care of their children even when relationships come to an end.

"It's so important that they work out whatever they need to work out and not get the state involved," Parkinson said.

He plans to continue holding a series of child support community meetings.

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