26 Aug Don’t Lose Your Driving License if You Owe Child Support!
If you owe child support, did you know that you could lose your driving license? Even if your ex spouse who has child custody rights is not living in California, or you are not living in California and your child or children are, you can still end up with your license taken away from you.
This may seem unfair and somewhat counterproductive as most people need their car to get to work. If you lose your license, it may be hard to earn the money you need to pay the child support you owe, let alone keep up with regular payments.
States make these laws (currently 43 of the 50 states have a law that allows driving rights to be restricted in the event that child support is owed) in order to persuade parents who owe child support to keep up payments and not get into arrears. In fact, it would be unlikely for you to have your license suspended just because you have missed one child support payment. It’s much more likely that you had missed a couple of months’ payments before action is taken. Even so, it is easier to keep up payments than lose your license because of a default, which is not going to reduce your debt and may make your own life a whole lot more difficult.
How you lose your license
Assuming you live in the same state as the custodial ex-spouse and children you are paying child support for, the state social services department or equivalent government agency will contact the DMV and instruct them to suspend your license. In California, it is the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) that will act to instruct the California DMV to suspend your driving license. If you have a professional license this may be suspended or canceled as well.
In California, it is expected that if you are ordered by court to pay monthly child support payments that you pay them on time. If your payment is 30 days late or more, then this will trigger action by the DCSS.
Note that if your ex spouse and child(ren) live in California but you have moved out of the state that you cannot get out of paying child support. Your ex spouse can ask the DCSS to instruct another state’s DMV to suspend your license in that state.
Even though the DMV has been asked to suspend your license, things are not yet irreversible. The DMV will send you a warning letter advising you to renew payments within 150 days or forfeit your driving license.
Reasons your license suspension can be stopped
There are limited reasons why your license suspension may be canceled or delayed. For example, if you are receiving CalWorks payments, General Relief benefits, your employer is paying some or all of the child support, some or all of the payment is coming from unemployment benefit or you have obtained a court order for release of the license.
Basically, if none of these apply to you, your best bet is to contact the DCSS and arrange an interview with them to discuss the situation. In most cases, any license suspension will not take place unless you pay the current monthly payment as well as contribute at least in part to support payments that are owed.
If your circumstances have changed since the court order for child support was made after separating from your spouse, you may be able to apply for a modification of your child support responsibility through the Family Court. You are advised to contact a family law attorney to discuss your options before you attempt this.
You cannot get another license in another state if your Californian license is suspended or canceled
If your California driving license is suspended due to failure to maintain child support payments but you live in another state and have been driving on a California license you are not legally allowed to apply for another state license. The DMV of the state you have moved to will be part of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact and will find out about your California suspension which automatically prevents you from applying for a new license.
Contact Your Orange County Lawyer if You Have Been Warned That Your License Could be Suspended
Contact a family law attorney at the Law Office of Damian Nolan to discuss your options when you need help with dealing with child support payments and a potential license suspension. You can reach his office in Orange County, California at 562-634-1115.