Wyoming Senate bill tightens child support collections

2013-01-08T23:45:00Z 2013-01-09T00:05:07Z Wyoming Senate bill tightens child support collectionsBy JOAN BARRON Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
January 08, 2013 11:45 pm  • 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — People who owe back child support will find it harder to avoid having their driver's licenses suspended if a bill to come before the state Senate passes this session.

The original law adopted in 2009 triggers a driver's license suspension if a parent is $5,000 in arrears and hasn't made a payment in 60 days.

The new bill, Senate File 58, lowers the dollar threshold to include a parent who is $2,500 in arrears and hasn't made a full monthly payment in 90 days. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Wayne Johnson, R-Cheyenne.

Johnson said the people who owe child support have been dodging the license suspension by paying just enough to not lose their driver's licenses.

"I had a mother with two kids who called and said her ex is doing this and it's hurting the kids," Johnson said. "They've been gaming the system."

Brenda Lyttle is administrator of the Child Support Enhancement Division of the Department of Family Services. She said the primary goal of the law is to collect more child support, not to suspend drivers' licenses.

Between July 1, 2009, when the law went into effect, and October 2012, the division collected more than $3 million in back child support.

Of the 2,600 delinquent child support cases handled in that time, 88 resulted in driver's license suspensions.

In many cases, she said, the person who owes the back child support will make a payment, sometimes as little as $5, or just enough to avoid a driver's license suspension.

Tightening the law should mean more people will make full monthly payments, Lyttle said.

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