Reported by Liku Zelleke
Parents that are behind on their child support and happen to be living in Georgia have been warned that they should pay up or face having their driver’s licenses suspended. At present, there are about 56,000 parents in the state who are perpetually late meeting their court-ordered obligations.
It has been learned that the Georgia Department of Driver Services and the Georgia Department of Human Services have been digitally interlinked. This means that the DHS can now suspend the driver’s license of any parent who falls behind on their child support payments.
The logic behind the move seems to lie in finding a way to make a parent pay up. The current way of handling non-payment would be to send the offending parent to jail.
“If parents that owe child support are incarcerated, they cannot pay,” says Tanguler Johnson, director of the state Child Support Division.
The two agencies began working together in May. Parents that are late on their payments have already been notified and unless they pay, or have a good reason why they cannot do so, they will have their licenses suspended on August 20th.
So far, the decision by the two departments to work together seems to be working. It has been reported that the amount of child support payments that have been received by the state has tripled since the link was established.
Johnson said that in 2011 there was no computer link between her office and the DDS. That year, the state collected $3 million in late support payments. This year, that amount has grown to $9 million.
When asked what she would say is could speak directly to parents who were behind on their payments, Johnson said, “Please, if you’re unable to pay, contact us and make sure that you let us know about your circumstances, and if you are able to pay, make sure you move forward and pay as ordered. Otherwise, on Aug. 20, your driver’s license will be suspended.”
Financial Juneteenth lessons from this story:
1) As we state in the book, “Financial Lovemaking,” the easiest way to find your path toward financial devastation is to have a lot of kids out of wedlock. Condoms aren’t difficult to use and if both you and your partner are using birth control, there is probably not going to be a baby that comes out of the process. Waiting until the right time to have children is one of the most important aspects of your long-term wealth-building process.
2) The child support system is not designed to keep families together. Instead, it actually destroys them. If you’re choosing a partner with whom to sleep with or possibly have children, try to formulate a plan to avoid child support courts altogether. This might come down to choosing the most responsible partner instead of the most attractive one.
3) The decision of the state to link drivers licenses with late payments is a good one for all of the parents out there who are having trouble getting the other parent to take care of their children. It avoids jail time and pushes parents to make the support of their children a primary, rather than secondary, part of their monthly budget. A lot of those people who claim to not have any money for their kids will often make this claim after they’ve spent money on everything else but their children. Holding parents accountable ultimately ensures that children aren’t left out in the cold by a parent with a short memory.