The legendary Houston Rockets center, Ralph Sampson, was recently arrested in Georgia for a suspended license. This is not news because the man was 7 foot 4 inches and inspired the game of an entire generation of big men.
This is news beacuse the arrest prompted Ralph Sampson to release a statement saying that his license was not suspended due to child support arrears, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Instead, Ralph Sampson had a spokeswoman clarify that his suspension was due to the non-payment of a $35 reinstatement fee.
Putting aside the question of whether or not the police goofed in their report, the bigger question in the Ralph Sampson story is this:
Can your license really be suspended if you have child support arrears?
In Georgia the answer is yes.
Under Georgia Code § 19-6-28.1(b), if you are more than 60 days late in making child support payments, you can have any and all your licenses suspended. This includes driving license, fishing license, business license, or professional license.
This is a severe and significant penalty that many non-custodial parents in Georgia may know nothing about.
According to the Division of Child Support Services in Georgia a license gets suspended after a 60-day delinquency. At this point a "Notice of Intent" is sent to the non-custodial parent. If there is no response, then the license gets suspended 30 days after the date of the notice. So, in all, a non-custodial parent has a 90 day period within which he or she must become current.
The office also points out that if your license has been suspended, the way to get it back is to contact your local office and work out a manageable agreement to get a reinstatement of a driver's or professional license. This suggests that the court works with each person on a case by case basis. The Division of Child Support Services in Georgia has offices in many places.
Consider this another lesson from Ralph Sampson, a big man on or off the court.
- Find an Atlanta Family Law attorney (FindLaw)
- How to Calculate Child Support (FindLaw)
- Ask the Community a Question about Child Support (FindLaw's Answers)
- Former Basketball Star Ralph Sampson Arrested for Failure to Pay Child Support (White Collar Crime Prof Blog)