Penalties for not Paying Child Support: License Revocation
In addition to being charged with contempt or being imprisoned, a non-custodial parent who is in non-compliance with an order for child support and who is at least 60 days in arrears, may have his or her driver’s, professional or business license revoked. According to Georgia law:
In any proceeding for enforcement of a judgment or order to pay child support, if the court is satisfied by competent proof that the respondent has accumulated support arrears equivalent to or greater than the current support due for 60 days and that the respondent is licensed to conduct a trade, business, profession, or occupation, licensed to hunt or fish, licensed to drive a motor vehicle, owns a motor vehicle which is registered in this state in his or her name, or is applying for the renewal or issuance of any such license or registration, the court may order the appropriate licensing or registering entity to suspend the license or registration or deny the application for such license and to inform the court of the actions it has taken pursuant to such proceedings.
O.C.G.A. § 19-6-28.1(b).
As is evidenced by the section of Georgia law quoted above, not only can the Georgia Department of Driver Services suspend the driver’s license of a parent in arrears on child support, but the parent’s professional license, such as a license to practice medicine or real estate license, may also be suspended. Additionally, the court presiding over the matter may order that parent’s business license or hunting and fishing licenses to be suspended. Not only may the court order the suspension of a non-custodial parent’s licenses to be revoked if that parent is 60 days or more behind on their child support payments but also a court may order that a non-paying parent’s application for any of these licenses be denied.
Because a driver’s license, in particular, is so essential to one’s ability to commute to and from work and earn money for child support, the court will notify the non-paying parent prior to revoking or suspending his or her license. If the parent represents that he or she is willing and able to abide by the court’s order and bring their child support obligation current, the court will consider this cooperation and may not revoke or suspend his or her license according to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-28.1(b). However, a parent must provide the court evidence of this cooperation in order to prevent the court from suspending his or her license. The purpose of this law is to punish those who are not willing to abide by the court’s order concerning child support. Thus, a court will not act under O.C.G.A. § 19-6-28.1(b) until it has been determined that the parent is not going to pay the back owed child support.
If a parent’s license is revoked for failure to pay child support, that parent may get their license reinstated. In order to do so, that parent must pay the entire amount of support that is owed. Once this occurs, the court will require the parent to provide written proof such as copies of cancelled checks that show that the parent has complied with the court’s order and has paid his or her arrearage amount.