CHILD SUPPORT ARREARS AND DRIVER LICENSE SUSPENSIONS

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The Law Office of Lee Meadows has 36 years experience assisting people needing guidance about Driver License Suspensions

All 50 states in the US have statutory or administrative provisions that restrict, suspend, or revoke driver licenses for failure to pay child support. Each state imposes its own triggering criteria, meaning the amount of arrears the obligor (the person who owes child support) must owe in order for a license to be suspended; or the amount of time the obligor must be delinquent before suspension occurs. Once the trigger criteria has been met, certain due process procedures are allowed before suspension of a license, including a notice to the obligor that they are delinquent or in arrears, and the opportunity for the obligor to pay the full amount of arrears, come up with a payment plan with the child support enforcement agency, or request a hearing to object the allegations.

A few states, including California, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming, allow for temporary licenses if suspension would result in undue hardship on the obligor, and in many instances, to allow the obligor to travel to and from work so they can earn money and pay the arrears. This is not the case in Florida

FLORIDA LAW ON LICENSE SUSPENSION FOR FAILING TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT

Section 322.245 of the 2017 Florida Statutes outlines that a driver’s license may be suspended for failing to pay child support. For an ordinary, non-commercial driver who is obligated to pay child support, the license suspension process will begin if the individual is 15 days late in paying or fails to comply with a subpoena or order to appear.

If your driver’s license has not yet been suspended but you have received a notice of intent to suspend your driver’s license, you have twenty days to file a motion to contest the suspension action in order to keep your license from being suspended. If you do not file the motion within 20 days of the date of the notice, your license will be suspended without further notice to you

At this point, the driver can do one of the following to prevent the license suspension:

  • Pay the owed amount in full
  • Enter an Agreement to Pay Delinquency
  • Contest the Suspension and Delinquency Filed

Once your driver’s license is suspended you will not be able to renew your vehicle registration and if you are pulled over for a simple speeding ticket, the police officer has the authority to take you to jail for driving on a suspended license.

Driver license suspension notices are sent to the last known address of the non-paying parent. Unfortunately, many parents move and do not update their address with the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) and never actually get notice that their driver’s license has been suspended. There is no requirement of personal service and notice by mail is acceptable; even if you have moved and never get the letter.

CLEARING A DRIVER LICENSE SUSPENSION BASED ON A FAILURE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT

 You can file a Motion to contest a driver license suspension and request that your driver license not be suspended or, that the suspension action be stopped. Generally, the Court will not suspend your driver’s license without giving you the ability to pay a purge amount to stop the suspension.

Ideally, it is best to contest the suspension before it takes place, however, Florida law gives you 20 days to file a motion contesting a suspension action for child support non-payment and if you fail to exercise this right to contest the action, then your license will be suspended without further notice.

The DOR has no authority to change what you owe in child support each month or forgive arrears; it can only agree that you make the payment ordered and catch up on arrears owed. This means that if you want to change how much child support you pay each month or have arrears forgiven you must file a petition with the court and go before a judge.

You can also go to the Clerk of Court and pay your arrears in full to have your driver’s license reinstated. If you choose to go the Clerk of Court you need to tell the DOR that you have brought your child support current and will begin making future payments as ordered. Once the DOR agrees to reinstate your driver’s license you will owe a fee to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to get your license back.

 

 

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