by Matthew Bothwell on June 11, 2015

Child support driver’s license suspension is one of the most effective and widely used tools by the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) when enforcing child support. Basically, with notice mailed to your last known address, the DOR has the ability to suspend your driver’s license for failure to pay child support. Once your driver’s license is suspended you will not be able to renew your vehicle registration and if you are pulled over for a simple speeding ticket, the police officer has the authority to take you to jail for driving on a suspended license. Driver license suspension notices are sent to the last known address of the non-paying parent. Unfortunately, we see that many parents move and do not update their address with the DOR and never actually get notice that their driver’s license has been suspended. There is no requirement of personal service and notice by mail is acceptable; even if you have moved and never get the letter. The DOR will suspend their license and vehicle registration if you do not respond to the notice letter by entering into a written agreement for payment of past-due support, or filing a petition in circuit court to contest within 20 days. If no action is taken within 20 days, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles mails the parent a notice of suspension and suspends their driver license and registration of all owed vehicles. These suspension happened without hearing if you fail to respond. Once your driver’s license is suspended there are several ways to have it reinstated. The quickest way is to enter into a written agreement with the DOR to pay your child support. The DOR has no authority to change what you owe in child support each month or forgive arrears; it can only agree that you make the payment ordered and catch up on arrears owed. This means that if you want to change how much child support you pay each month or have arrears forgiven you must file a petition with the court and go before a judge. You can also go to the Clerk of Court and pay you arrears in full to have your driver’s license reinstated. If you choose to go the Clerk of Court you need to tell the DOR that you have brought your child support current and will begin making future payments as ordered. Once the DOR agrees to reinstate your driver’s license you will owe a fee to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to get you license back. If you have questions regarding driver’s license suspension or child support please contact Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A. We are here to help.

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