Suspending Licenses to Enforce Child Support
Child support obligations arise from a special legal duty for which all parents are responsible, reflecting an important public policy regarding the care and welfare of all children. As a result, the law recognizes unique legal methods to enforce a person’s obligation to make child support payments.
The Importance of Child Support
The duty to pay child support is a parent’s legal duty to provide sufficient financial assistance to take care of their children’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, health care, and education. A parent’s duty to pay child support is different from other debts, such as credit card debt and mortgages.
While there are constitutional principles against punishing someone for not paying debts that arise from contracts, a parent’s duty to support their children is more fundamental. That is why, for example, filing for bankruptcy does not relieve someone from paying child support debts. The rationale behind the importance of child support is that those payments directly impact the livelihood and wellbeing of the parent’s child. Any delay or failure to pay child support has the potential to harm a child significantly.
Pennsylvania Law on Suspending Licenses to Enforce Child Support
According to Pennsylvania Statutes § 4355, a court can suspend or deny issuance or renewal of any license to enforce outstanding child support obligations that are at least three months overdue. The court can condition reinstatement of a person’s licenses upon satisfaction or excuse of child support arrearages.
What kind of licenses may a court suspend or deny to enforce child support? Section 4355 specifically provides that the court can order “any licensing authority” to deny or suspend a license. Pennsylvania law defines “licensing authority” to mean “[a]ny entity of the Commonwealth, political subdivision or agency thereof which issues a license.”
Therefore, the court can suspend any license to enforce overdue child support obligations, including:
- Driver’s licenses
- Medical licenses
- Legal practice licenses
- Hunting licenses
For example, a Pennsylvania court can order the Pennsylvania Securities Commission to suspend the license of an agent who fell behind on their child support payments. The court can also direct the Pennsylvania Game Commission to suspend a person’s hunting or fishing licenses to enforce outstanding child support obligations. The licensing authorities are immune from criminal or civil liability for complying with the court’s orders to suspend or withhold a person’s license.
Call Scaringi Law at (717) 775-7195 for Quality Legal Advice
Legal disputes involve child support are serious. As a result, you should consult an experienced attorney from Scaringi Law to advocate for your interests. Our legal team has experience handling various family law matters, including issues regarding child support orders and their enforcement.
For a free consultation exploring your legal rights and options, call Scaringi Law at (717) 775-7195 or contact us online today.