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License suspension for failure to pay child support in WA

News stories in Washington State and across the country often tell of parents who have failed to pay child support and end up being arrested. However, there are other penalties that may not end up on the evening news, but can be just as damaging to a person who is found guilty of delinquent payments of child support. One is by initiating a license suspension.

A parent who falls behind on child support might be informed by the state licensing body that failing to catch up on the payments will result in a license suspension. The support order will be attached to the notice informing the parent of this decision. It will be delivered by return receipt to make certain that it is received. The notice will have the address and telephone number of the child support office issuing the order. It will also inform the parent that he or she has 20 days from the day the notice is received to contact the department and either pay what is owed, request an adjudicative proceeding, agree to a payment schedule or file an action to have the amount of support modified. If there is a request for modification, the suspension will be stayed for six months.

If the parent does not contact the department within those twenty days, the move to suspend the license will go forward. The licenses will be suspended and not renewed until the child support issue is resolved. If there is another license apart from a driver's license, this too can be suspended. That includes licenses to hunt, fish, perform one's occupation if it requires a specific license - such as that of a doctor or attorney - and any other license issued by the state. This can also affect a person's insurance coverage if it is contingent on them being licensed.

Those who are confronted with allegations of failing to pay child support need to understand the consequences. The penalties can be difficult to deal with and a license suspension can affect a person's ability to make a living. Parents who are not receiving the child support payments that they are supposed to, as well as parents who are facing the prospect of license suspension, should both be aware of the situation and discuss their case with an attorney.

Source: Washington State Legislature, "RCW 74.20A.320 License Suspension -- Notice of noncompliance with a child support order -- License renewal and reinstatement," accessed on Sept. 8, 2015

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