Should Deadbeat Parents Lose Their Car License Plates, Too?

May 26, 2011
Georgia license plate

Georgia license plate

Deadbeat parents can be jailed, have their wages garnered, can lose their business licenses and even their passports--but should they lose their car tags, too?

In metro Atlanta, the DeKalb County District Attorney's office has decided that license plates are fair game when it comes to getting parents to pay up on child support. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that parents found behind on support payments by 60 days or more will be targeted for enforcement. If their car has legal license plates, the plates could be revoked; if they're in the process of applying for new tags, the application can now be denied.

The DA's office is working on the tag issue with the county tax commissioner, which has jurisdiction over vehicle registrations. The state's child-services division is campaigning for revocation to become state law.

In Georgia and in jurisdictions across the country, local officials have turned to license plates as a new way of compelling deadbeat parents to pay up as the next step in their enforcement efforts. In many U.S. states and in the U.K., deadbeat parents can lose their drivers' licenses once child support falls into arrears. Those plans don't take into account the thousands of drivers who could be simultaneously behind on child support and driving with no license. 

As the Supreme Court weighs rights of deadbeat parents, it's worth pointing out the majority of non-custodial parents in a majority of states meet their obligations. Even so, the most recent data suggests that, on a national basis, non-custodial parents could owe more than $100 billion to their children and their co-parents.

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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