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Court OKs driver's license suspension for overdue child support

A Minnesota court ruling may allow the state to suspend the driver's licenses of people who fail to pay child support on time. The measure was initially overturned in a lower court, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the District Court ruling. The lower court had called the proposal unconstitutional.

The issue came before the court because a truck driver complained that his commercial license was suspended because of overdue child support. The man owed more than $27,000 in child support, having failed to make payments since 2009. Even though the driver had made promises to pay in the past, he ultimately chose to withhold money from the children's primary custodian.

Last year, the District Court ruled in favor of the driver, essentially arguing that the man's livelihood was being jeopardized because of the unfair regulation. Furthermore, people in rural areas of Minnesota are more likely to suffer because of the rule, leaving a particularly vulnerable population without transportation. Rural residents have access to fewer employers, and public transportation in those areas is not readily available.

The Court of Appeals rejected those arguments in its most recent ruling, saying that it is not a constitutional right to pursue a particular profession. There is a rational connection, the court said, between the man's refusal to pay child support and the suspension of his driver's license. Under the mandate, anyone who is three months overdue in child support can be subject to license suspension.

Further, the court refuted evidence that the mandate would unfairly target Minnesota's rural residents, saying that family members and other community support networks existed to help those people travel to work and other important locations.

If you are struggling to pay your child support obligations, do not suffer in silence. Contact a qualified family attorney for more information. Your lawyer can help you learn more about your legal rights and responsibilities.

Source:  minnesota.publicradio.org, "Court: State may strip driver's license of people delinquent on child support" Bob Collins, May. 06, 2013

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