Illinois law already permits a Court to suspend your driver’s license if you fail to pay child support. Now that law has been expanded so that you can lose your license if you don’t obey court-ordered visitation.
Illinois law defines visitation abuse as occurring when a party "has willfully and without justification: (1) denied another party visitation as set forth by the court; or (2) exercised his or her visitation rights in a manner that is harmful to the child or child’s custodian." (750 ILCS 5/607.1). This means your license can be suspended if you wrongfully withhold visitation or if you exercise visitation in an irresponsible way, such as driving your children while intoxicated.
According to the legislature, the State "has a compelling interest in ensuring that those individuals with responsibilities involving minor children pursuant to visitation orders demonstrate responsibility, including family responsibility, in order to safely own and operate a motor vehicle, especially when transporting a minor." (625 ILCS 5/7-701)
The State has long attempted to insure that drivers demonstrate responsibility by obtaining auto insurance or by posting a bond if a driver has no insurance in the event of an accident.
The new law allows the Secretary of State to suspend your driver’s license if a Court finds you guilty of visitation abuse and orders your license suspended. You can only get your license back after the court determines you have sufficiently complied with visitation for a sufficient period of time. Even if your license is suspended, you may qualify for a family responsibility driving permit allowing you to go to work, look for a job or obtain medical care for yourself or someone in your household.
The law does require that you be given notice before your license is suspended so that you can request a hearing to contest the charge that you abused visitation.
If you receive notice that your license may be suspended for visitation abuse, contact an experienced family law attorney immediately. An attorney can help you request a hearing and present your situation in its most favorable light before a judge, maybe even stopping the suspension of your license.
If you have questions about this or another domestic relations matter, please contact Zachary W. Williams at 1-312-981-0851 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.