In Florida, child support is ordered in nearly every paternity or dissolution of marriage action involving minor children. The State of Florida takes this obligation very seriously and provides a wide variety of means by which to enforce a person’s child support obligation. The most common form of enforcement is to suspend the non-paying party’s driver’s license. Florida law allows for a notice to be sent to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles informing them of the intent to suspend a non-paying party’s driver’s license just fifteen days after the party has become delinquent in their payments. The party will then typically have just twenty days to either pay the amount in full or enter into a written repayment agreement.
However, often times a party may get behind due to no fault of their own. The law does recognize that it would be improper to suspend a person’s driver’s license when they desire to, but are simply unable to, comply with their child support obligation. For that reason, the law does provide certain instances where a person’s driver’s license will not be suspended even though they have become delinquent in their obligation. These exceptions include: when the delinquent party demonstrates that he or she receives reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation; demonstrates that he or she is disabled and incapable of self-support or that he or she receives benefits under the federal Supplemental Security Income program or Social Security Disability Insurance program; demonstrates that he or she receives temporary cash assistance; or demonstrates that he or she is making payments in accordance with a confirmed bankruptcy plan.
If a person falls into one of the above exceptions, it is important that they immediately notify the proper personnel upon receiving a notice of intent to suspend their driver’s license. Otherwise, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will proceed to suspend the person’s driver’s license.
Written by: Attorney Barry Newton