Child Support Suspended My Driver's License

by shuck72

An overview on when child support will suspend your driver's license for the non-payment of child support and the steps to take to get it back if they do.

Child Support is a significant financial obligation. Parents can fall behind for various reasons such as the loss of a job, injury or illness.

Many people have the connotation of the “dead beat dad”. The truth is that most dads are not dead beats. Studies show that over 70% of those obligated to pay child support pay it each month. Of the remaining 30% some are unemployed, disabled, have drug or alcohol issues or are in prison.

Only a small portion of individuals fall into the dead beat category, meaning they could financially pay their child support, they just choose not to.

So What Happens When You Can’t Pay Your Child Support?

Each state has a child support agency whose mission is to collect child support.  They have a tremendous amount of power to accomplish this mission including several collection tools such as garnishments, IRS refund interceptions, credit reporting, bank freezes and yes, even license suspensions.

If you don’t pay your child support and don’t communicate with the child support agency enforcing your child support order chances are your driver’s license will be suspended.

What’s The Point in That?

Many people make the argument that this is counter-productive; because if you suspend someone’s license they can’t work and if they can’t work they can’t make money to pay their child support in the first place.

This argument makes sense on the surface until you realize child support never suspends  license if someone is paying their support.  They only suspend a license if the support is not being paid and if the person is not cooperating by letting them know they are unemployed or disabled or in between jobs.

If you keep in contact with the child support agency you will have little need to worry about your license being suspended.

When Will They Suspend My License?

Each state has different rules but typically you must owe at least 6 months in past due child support. 

In addition, before suspending your license the child support agency will need to serve you legal documents telling you they intend to suspend your license.  From the date you are served you have 20 days to ask for a hearing or contact the child support agency to make arrangements.

Again, it is unlikely the child support agency will suspend your license unless you ignore them and do not communicate your financial situation.

After all, the child support agency does not want your driver’s license, they want you to pay your child support or at the very least explain why you have not been paying it.

If They Suspend My License How do I Get It Back?

This isn’t rocket science.  If you license is suspended for not paying child support contact the child support agency and make payment arrangements with them.

If you honestly cannot pay, explain that you are looking for work and give them a time frame on when they might expect a payment.

If you can’t afford the amount of child support you are ordered to pay ask for a modification.  The child support agency will assist you in lowering your child support amount if appropriate.

In fact the only thing you can do wrong is not contact the child support agency.  Basically they suspend your license to get your attention and to force you to contact them.  Contact them and they will very likely work with you to get your license back.

Also, a misconception is that if your license is suspended you must pay your debt in full before they will release your license.   For example someone may owe $30,000 in past due child support and not bother contacting the child support agency to get their license back because they figure they need to come up with $30,000 before they can get it back.  This is not true. 

Call and ask and the child support agency will work with you no matter how much you owe.  Their goal is to get you to pay something each month. 

Child Support

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Nolo's Essential Guide to Child Custody & Support

Whether you and your spouse agree on custody questions or you're fighting it out in court, you need solid information to help you deal with the child-focused parts of your divor...

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Updated: 10/18/2012, shuck72
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katiem2 on 10/19/2012

Informative and vital information. thanks for keeping us in the know. :)K

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