Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mitch Daniels Touts License Suspension to Collect Child Support

I try to keep my political biases out of this blog but I cannot not comment on Deadbeat parents could face license suspensions came from The Richmond Palladium-Item (and has been noted in other media):

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana could soon start taking something besides money from the wallets of deadbeat parents.

Noncustodial parents who owe at least $25,000 in child support and have not made payments for at least one year will be subject to having their driver's, hunting and fishing licenses suspended under a new program announced today by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Daniels says the program will begin in Marion, Lake, Allen and St. Joseph counties — the state's four most-populated areas — along with Vanderburgh, Tippecanoe, Monroe and Kosciusko counties.
This came from The Indiana Lawyer:
Eight counties are participating in the initial phase of the program beginning this week - Allen, Kosciusko, Lake, Marion, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, and Vanderburgh - and will target non-custodial parents who haven't made a payment in at least a year and owe more than $25,000. The project will eventually be rolled out to every county with the qualifying threshold lowered to an arrearage of $2,000 and three months of non-payment.

Violators will be sent a warning letter demanding they set up a payment plan or pay the existing arrearage in full. Those who don't respond after 60 days will have their hunting, fishing, and/or driver's license suspended until a payment plan is established.

The program is a partnership involving the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, Department of Child Services, Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Department of Natural Resources, and the Family and Social Services Administration.
I gnash my teeth at what I see as politicizing Indiana's family law system. It is not like we do not have enough problems (er, how about properly funding a CASA/GAL system for our courts?) without this bit of pandering.

Indiana lawyers have long had the ability to get a court to suspend a driver's license for failing to pay child support. This appears to be an administrative process. Since our state government seems to have trouble funding its already existing government programs, I am left wondering how it will be able to fund this program. Or how well it will actually be run.

I notice that the proposal involves those counties that I would call our most urbanized, but I still wonder how one is to get from a home in Ellettsville to work in Bloomington. Therein lies the problem with license suspension as means of collecting child support: too many in Indiana drive to their work, take away the ability to drive and no work, no work means no income to pay child support.

I have seen two types of people not paying child support. Those who cannot because they have lost a job and those who will not. This proposal does nothing for the first group. If the politicians want to solve the first group's troubles they should be working on improving our economy. The second group shall drive even with a suspended license and continue scoffing at paying child support. Better to get an income withholding order and have the money garnished from their pay.

No comments: