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Penalties For Not Paying Child Support in Georgia: License Revocation

by Meriwether & Tharp LLP

According to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-28.1(b), the licensing agencies in Georgia can revoke or suspend someone's license if he or she is in arrears behind in paying child support for a period of more than sixty days. Not only can the Georgia Department of Driver Services suspend someone's drivers license, but the person's professional license, such as a license to practice medicine. A business license as well as hunting and fishing licenses can also be suspended. Also, if the non-paying parent applies for the license, the application can be denied based solely on the fact that he or she is in arrears with child support. Georgia is not the first state to implement such a drastic law to punish parents who are in arrears. For years, the states of Ohio, Tennessee, and Arizona, have suspended drivers licenses because someone owes back owed child support to their ex-spouse.

When this law comes into effect in July, there are going to be those who support the law and who oppose it. Some people may feel that it is unfair because if they don't have a driver's license, then they cannot get to work to earn the money to pay child support. Prior to revoking or suspending someone's license, the court will notify the person who is in arrears. If he or she is able and willing to cooperate with the court to make their child support obligation current and to provide evidence to the court, then the court will consider this and may not revoke or suspend his or her license according to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-28.1(b). This law is meant only to punish those who do not plan on becoming current with their child support obligations. Once the court has contacted the person and has determined that he or she is not going to pay the back owed child support, then the court will enter into an order and contact the licensing agency for the person's failure to pay child support. If the licensing agency revokes or suspends his or her license, then the licensing agency will contact the court according to O.C.G.A. §19-6-28.1(b).

If someone's license had been revoked due to failure to pay child support, the person can get their license reinstated, but he or she must pay the back owed child support before their license is reinstated. According to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-28.1(c), the court will contact the person and ask them to provide written proof, such as copies of cancelled checks, showing that they complied with the order and he or she paid the back owed support, which the court can provide to the licensing agency. If the non-custodial parent pays their child support and abides by the child support order, then he or she will not have to worry about having his or her license being revoked.

The law firm of Meriwether & Tharp was established in 1998 in Norcross, Georgia by partners Patrick L. Meriwether and Robert L. Tharp. In 2000, the offices were relocated from Norcross to Alpharetta, Georgia and the firm began expanding its professional staff and focusing its practice on family and business law matters, including divorce, contempt, and modification actions. At Meriwether & Tharp our experienced family law attorneys recognize that domestic troubles can be emotionally and financially taxing. Our lawyers provide personal, individualized legal services, covering the full spectrum of family law issues.

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