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Parson: Should truckers lose licenses over unpaid child support?

Missouri, like other states, has a number of methods for getting child support from parents who are not making their payments as ordered by the court. One of these is taking people's occupational licenses. Here in Missouri, a person who hasn't made child support payments for at least three months can lose their commercial driver's license (CDL) or other professional license.

However, with the serious shortage of commercial truck drivers, the industry can't afford to lose even more drivers because their licenses were taken for failing to pay child support. Last year, over 7,000 Missourians lost their CDL due to failure to make child support payments.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says he's considering alternatives to pulling drivers' CDLs. He asserts that it's "not practical" to take away this license for a "nondriving offense." So far, Parsons hasn't proposed a different way "to serve up that punishment," as he puts it. However, with next year's legislative session just a few months away, he says he's looking at the problem.

The shortage of commercial truck drivers is only going to get worse according to estimates from the American Trucking Association (ATA). The ATA predicts that within three years, that shortage will rise to 100,000 drivers. The shortage impacts virtually all Americans because it raises the price of a whole host of consumer products.

Parson says he's considering implementing programs like those used in other states to train inmates in state prisons to drive trucks. They would be learning a skill that could help them get a job when they're released and help ease the trucker shortage.

The threat of losing one's occupational license can spur people who are simply refusing to make their child support payments to meet their obligations. However, taking away someone's ability to earn a living is a problematic move if they already can't afford their child support payments.

If you're having trouble meeting your child support obligations or other circumstances have changed since the order was put in place that you believe warrant a modification, it's essential to talk with your Missouri family law attorney. The penalties for not making required payments in full and on schedule can be significant.

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