Child Support Arrears & License Suspensions

In all 50 states, there can be serious ramifications if a parent falls behind on their child support payments. Licenses for example, can be impacted by the failure to pay child support. We’re not just referring to driver licenses.

In some states, driver’s, professional, occupational, business, and recreational (think hunting and fishing) licenses can be suspended if a noncustodial parent falls too far behind on their child support payments.

“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,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

When Do License Suspensions Take Effect?

Once the state’s arrears threshold has been met, certain procedures have to take place before the paying parent’s licenses are suspended. For example, the obligor must receive a notice about their delinquent arrears, and they’ll get the opportunity to pay the child support arrears in full, or enter into a satisfactory payment arrangement with their local child support agency, or request a hearing to contest the accusations.

In California, once a parent is in arrears of 30 or more calendar days, the trigger criteria has been met. However, California is one of a handful of states that let obligors obtain a temporary driver license for up to 150 days so they can drive to and from work, which may be extended for an additional 150 days if necessary. Other licenses can still be affected.

Types of licenses suspended in California for child support arrears, include:

  • Driver’s
  • Business
  • Occupational
  • Professional
  • Recreational

Are you behind on your child support payments? If so, you may need to ask the court for a downward modification if you have experienced a significant change in circumstances. To learn more about child support modifications and resolving a license suspension issue due to past-due child support, contact the Ventura County family law attorneys at Cutter & Lax.

Related: Can I Get a U.S. Passport if I Owe Child Support?