Leadership of Georgia Child Support Commission Changes

By Patricia K. Buonodono, Director, Georgia Child Support Project

Judge Louisa Abbot, Superior Court, Eastern Judicial Circuit, resigned from her position as Chair of the Georgia Child Support Commission in 2016. 

Judge Louisa AbbotJudge Abbot was appointed to the superior court bench in 2000.  She received her undergraduate degree from Augusta College, and earned her J.D. at the University of Georgia.  Judge Abbot began her career as a law clerk for Judge Avant Edenfield, United States District Court. After that, she worked in private practice, and then clerked for Chief Superior Court Judge Perry Brannen, Jr.

Judge Abbot has served on many community organizations and boards, including the Council of Superior Court Judges; the Savannah Bar Association; the Georgia Bar Foundation; the Rotary Club of Savannah; United Way; Board of Curators for the Georgia Historical Society; Chatham Savannah Citizen Advocacy Board; and has received many awards, including:

2004: Woman of Achievement award from the Oglethorpe Business & Professional Women's Club

2004: Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service

2002: Joseph T. Tuggle, Jr. Professionalism Award from the Family Law Section of the Bar

1993: Distinguished Service Award from the Savannah Jaycees

1993: Robert E. Robinson Award from the Younger Lawyer's Section of the Savannah Bar Association

Judge Abbot spent many years serving on the Child Support Commission, beginning with the inception of the Commission.  She was instrumental in moving Georgia to a shared income model of child support, the development of the Georgia Child Support Guidelines, and the child support calculator. 

Governor Deal issued a Commendation in April recognizing Judge Abbot’s many years of service and her good work on behalf of the children and families of Georgia.


In July 2016, Judge R. Michael Key was appointed by Governor Deal as Chair of the Commission. 

Judge Michael KeyJudge Key is a leading advocate for Georgia’s children. Having served as a part-time Juvenile Court Judge in the Coweta Circuit since 1989, he is now serving as the full time Juvenile Judge there.

Judge Key is an advocate for change. He is a lead judge in the Georgia Court Improvement Initiative, which has had a major impact on how the courts work with children and their families.  Judge Key's leadership is recognized nationally. He is a past president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. He has also served on the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Board of Directors.  Judge Key also serves on the Georgia Supreme Court’s Committee on Justice for Children.

Judge Key has been involved in Georgia’s child support system since before the state moved to the shared income model, and served as Chairman of the Child Support Commission’s Statute Review Committee since 2013.


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