State suspends more driver's licenses for child support debt

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- The state Child Support Enforcement Division has suspended the driver's licenses of 33 more Alaskans for failure to pay child support.

The 33 parents owe a combined $1.1 million in 38 different cases, said Barbara Miklos, CSED director.

The division in March suspended the licenses of 17 parents. Two have since contacted the agency to set up a payment plan, Miklos said.

The Legislature in 1996 adopted the driver's license suspension law to meet requirements of the federal Welfare Reform Act. A state Superior Court judge ruled the law unconstitutional a year later but the state Supreme Court overturned that decision and reinstated the law in September 1998.

Parents must be at least four months and $1,000 behind in support payments to risk losing their licenses. They can avoid losing their licenses by paying off the debt or following a payment schedule.

Miklos said the average debt of the 33 parents on the latest list is $33,760. She said the worst offender owes $159,844 in support for two sons.

The child support agency must give three written notices to delinquent parents before suspending a license. The process takes at least seven months.

Miklos says more than 150 additional parents face license suspension in the next month if they fail to set up a payment plan with the Child Support Enforcement Division.

The 1996 federal Welfare Report Act requires states to take other steps to increase child support payments.

States were ordered to collect Social Security numbers on hunting and fishing licenses to help locate parents who owed child support.

The federal law also ordered states to suspend occupational licenses of delinquent parents.

Miklos said the division does not suspend occupational licenses directly. Instead, the division sends information on parents who are in arrears to occupational licensing boards. When a license held by a parent with child support debt comes up for renewal, Miklos said, the boards reject the renewal.

She said she does not know how many licenses have not been renewed.

As of April 15, the division will be able to seek suspension of attorney's licenses if they owe child support. Miklos said the Alaska Supreme Court authorized the suspensions for child support debt last year but will continue to act as the review board.

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