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Can/Will Child Support Suspend My/Your Driver's License For Not Paying?

Updated on October 1, 2014

If you owe child support and are not making payments the child support agency handling your case will suspend your driver’s license for non-payment. Different states have different thresholds when this will occur. A typical example is having at least 6 months of past due child support and no payments in the current month when the license is suspended.

In order to suspend your driver’s license the child support agency will need to serve legal papers on you stating they intend to do so. Once you are served, you will typically be given three weeks to request a hearing. Do not wait! Contact the child support agency immediately if you are served license suspension paper work. If you fail to respond your license will automatically be suspended at the end of the three week waiting period.

The idea of suspending a driver’s license is to force a child support payment to get your license back. The child support agency does not want your driver’s license they want you to make a child support payment.

Many people argue that suspending a driver’s license is counterproductive as a person without a license can’t drive to work or look for work if they are unemployed. Many have made this argument and although somewhat logical it is rarely successful. Most places have at least some kind of public transportation and driving is still seen as a privilege in the Unites States not a right. Many Judges assume if you can’t afford to pay your child support, you can’t afford to drive.

That said getting your license back should not be too difficult. Simply contact the child support agency and ask what you need to do to get your license back. You do not need to pay all of your child support debt off to get your license; you simply need to just make a payment. Often you don’t even need to pay the full amount requested, a payment as small as $25 may even suffice in some situations.

Even if you cannot afford the court ordered monthly child support amount, if you show some effort, even a token payment can get your license back in many cases. Again the child support agency wants you to work and pay your child support and having the ability to drive improves the odds of one paying their support. For this reason, the child support agency wants to work with you as much as possible to get your license back to you.

If your child support order is too high, let the child support agency know this when you contact them to get your license back. Explain to them that you are willing to pay your child support and will cooperate but you need your license in order to do so. They will often accept a token payment and may assist you in modifying your order to an amount you can afford.

Be advised if you are successful in having your license reinstated you must continue cooperating with the child support agency each month or your risk having it suspended again. And each time the child support agency has to suspend your license it gets harder and harder to get it back. They will give you the benefit of the doubt the first time but not the third and fourth.

It can be financially very difficult to keep up with your child support obligation, especially if you lose a job. It is important though that you communicate with your child support agency to prevent collection actions such as license suspension from happening.

Having your driver’s license suspended for not paying child support does not make you a deadbeat dad. People lose jobs and have trouble meeting their obligations. The best thing you can do for yourself and your child is to cooperate with your child support agency and work with them to get your license back and put yourself in position to support your children financially.


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    • shuck72 profile image

      shuck72 2 years ago from Seattle

      Hi Johnny, you may need to make some kind of payment but it should not have to be $1K if you're not working. Offer a $50 payment until you can find work. If they still won't release it ask to speak with a supervisor and if need be ask for a hearing or what's called a conference board, which is an informal hearing. If you need your license to work don't give up, keep asking for hearings and supervisors and they will eventuallly release it so you can work.

    • profile image

      johnny askew 2 years ago

      my driver lic has been in suspenion 1997 , i was told that i to make a payment of one thousand dollars to get renstated. i am un employed and cant get job cause of the suspention of my lic .what can i do ?

    • shuck72 profile image

      shuck72 5 years ago from Seattle

      It does take a long time for DMV to release the license as it has to be sent from one agency to another and processed. That said it is a slow process to suspend the license in the first place and there are many opportunities to prevent the suspension by cooperating up front.

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      Bonnie 5 years ago

      Once you pay for childsupport ,why does it take forever to get released in the computer at dmv office .if u pay that day u should receive your license the same day day!!!!!!