License & Passport Suspensions for Child Support in California

Across the country, it’s very difficult for a noncustodial parent to escape paying child support as parents did in the past. These days, local child support agencies have numerous tools in their toolbox to enforce child support orders, including but not limited to wage garnishment, intercepting of tax refunds, bank levies, liens, credit reporting, etc.

Enforcement actions to collect past-due child support are authorized under federal law. If a noncustodial parent in California skips payments or does not pay the full payment, their driver’s licenses, professional licenses, and recreational licenses (hunting and fishing, etc.) can be suspended. When does this take place?

When Are Licenses Suspended?

Once you fall behind 30 or more days, you will automatically receive a notice in the mail from licensing agencies, including the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) warning you about the impending license suspension.

The first time it happens, you’ll have 150 days to respond or your licenses face suspension. The second time around, you won’t be so lucky; you’ll only have 30 days to respond before your licenses are suspended.

“Each state imposes its own criteria for the amount of arrears the obligor (the person who owes child support) must owe for a license to be suspended or revoked and the amount of time the obligor must be delinquent before suspension or revocation occurs. Related provisions include procedures to halt revocation proceedings, reinstate licenses and issue temporary or restricted licenses,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Passport Denials for Child Support

In all states, not just California, if a parent’s child support arrears reaches or exceeds $2,500, they will be barred from obtaining a U.S. passport. If you try to renew or apply for a U.S. passport and your application is denied, please contact our office right away so we can assist you. We can also help you if other licenses are suspended due to child support.