Typically, non-custodial parents are aware that if they fall behind on child support, their local child support enforcement agency will eventually spring into action and take steps to collect the past-due child support. Child support agencies have many tools to collect child support arrears, such as bank account levies, wage garnishment, tax refund intercept, denial of U.S. passports, and license suspensions.
Suspended License for Child Support
For the purposes of this post, we are going to focus on license suspensions for the failure to pay child support. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: “All 50 states have statutory or administrative provisions that restrict, suspend, or revoke licenses for failure to pay child support. The licenses affected are generally driver’s licenses, occupational licenses, professional licenses (such as a law license), and recreational licenses (such as hunting and fishing licenses).” It is crucial when living in Massachusetts to understand the potential penalties that arise when falling behind on child support. These rules can vary by state, so knowing how MA regulates child support can help a payee stay out of hot water.
License Suspensions in Massachusetts
Each state handles license suspensions a little differently, specifically in how late or far behind a non-custodial parent has to be on child support. Usually, a state’s trigger criteria will be based on one of two factors: 1) how much the parent owes, or 2) how much time must elapse before the state suspends the parent’s licenses.
In Massachusetts, the law addressing license suspensions for the failure to pay child support is Mass. Ann. Laws 119A §16. Under this law, license suspensions go into effect when a non-custodial parent is 8 weeks in arrears, or he or she has failed to comply with a warrant or subpoena.
The following types of licenses can be suspended in MA for past-due child support:
- Driver license
- Business license
- Professional license
- Occupational license
- Recreational license (e.g. hunting or fishing)
In Danger of a Suspended License in MA?
Under the law, non-custodial parents have 30 days to make a payment or request a hearing before a final determination is made against their licenses. Once a licensing authority does decide to suspend a license, it will notify the parent that he or she has 10 days to enter into a payment arrangement or pay a lump sum child support payment.
Are you 8 or more weeks past-due on child support? If so, any licenses that you have, including your Massachusetts driver license are at risk. Contact our firm at once to schedule a consultation with a Framingham family law attorney.