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New law may help parents behind in child support

When a parent fails to pay court-ordered child support for whatever reason, there may be serious consequences handed down, including wage garnishment or loss of a driver's license. If a parent loses his or her Pennsylvania driver's license due to lack of payment of child support, that parent's livelihood and ability to pay in the future may be further jeopardized. One state has enacted a law to help parents who are behind in child support avoid losing their jobs by offering them a chance for obtaining a special driver's license.

The new law relates to issuing a restricted driver's license. The parent who is behind in payment can show he or she works 30 hours a week and works more than a mile from home. This and other eligibility requirements can lead to the issuance of a restricted license so that parent can still get to work and earn the money needed to get current on a child support obligation.

If the parent who was granted a restricted license falls behind or fails to pay, the restricted license can be revoked also. The license cannot be used for commercial license needs. It also cannot be used for attending school. There is a fee of $30 for the restricted license.

In a perfect scenario, a child support order is ordered in Pennsylvania, and the paying parent has no problem abiding by that order until the child is an adult. However, circumstances change and paying support may become difficult, meaning a driver's license can be put at risk. While a restricted license can be helpful for a parent already behind, a modification drafted with the intent of preventing missed or late payments may be the best way to ensure no one breaks the law or suffers the consequences of missed or late payments at all.

Source: herald-citizen.com, "New law could help parents paying child support maintain licenses", Tracey Hackett, Aug. 31, 2015

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