Says Current Rules Make No Sense, Deny Individuals an Opportunity to Earn a Paycheck
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice which would allow the court to waive the license revocation process for an individual who is behind on child support payments was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.
“I fully support judges using the tools at their disposal to enforce child support court orders and make sure people are paying what they owe,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “When you have a child, you have a responsibility to provide for the care for that child, whether that child is living with you or not. However, under the current rules, when the court imposes license revocation, they’re essentially putting parents in a position where there’s no way they can earn a paycheck and make future child support payments.”
The bill, S-1531, would give the court discretion to waive driver’s license suspension for an individual who is six months or more behind on child support payments, if the person can show that he or she is employed and currently making payments. Under current law, the court is required to revoke an individual’s license if they’re six months or more behind in child support. According to Senator Rice, because access to transportation is essential for employment for many people in New Jersey, revoking someone’s driver’s license essentially means the person won’t be able to sustain employment, and will fall farther behind in making future payments.
“New Jersey doesn’t have the mass transportation infrastructure that makes it easy for folks to get around without a car,” said Senator Rice. “As a result, access to a car usually means access to a job. It simply doesn’t make sense to me to reduce a person’s earning potential when the ultimate goal is to get them to make child support payments on time.
“At the end of the day, this isn’t about going easy on deadbeat parents, but on ensuring that they can do the right thing by their kids,” added Senator Rice. “It represents a common sense solution to making sure people have the means to keep up to date with child support payments.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.