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DOR/CSE can enforce child support by having your licenses taken away

Produced by Attorney Jeff Wolf for MassLegalHelp
Reviewed June 2013

If you do not pay your child support, the Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Division (DOR/CSE) can have your licenses taken away. This includes your:

  • driver’s license,
  • business license,
  • professional license, and
  • trade license.

“Taking away” a license includes

  • suspending,
  • revoking,
  • not issuing, and
  • not renewing the license.

Before DOR/CSE can have your license taken away they must send you a warning letter, Failure To Pay Your Child Support May Result In Suspension of Your Driver’s, Business, Professional, and Trade Licenses.

The warning letter tells you to:

  • pay all the past-due child support you owe and pay your child support on time; or
  • make 4 regular payments that are 25% of your past-due child support and pay your child support on time; or
  • contact DOR/CSE to make a payment agreement; or
  • request a hearing within 30 days.


Call DOR/CSE at 1-800-332-2733 if:

  • you have custody of one of the children you were ordered to support;
  • you are on public assistance; or
  • you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and have no other income.

Why would I ask for a hearing?

Ask for a hearing to show DOR/CSE why you do not owe past-due child support.

How do I ask for a hearing?

If you need a hearing send a letter to DOR/CSE and ask for one.  Send your letter to the DOR representative that sent you the warning letter or to the Customer Service Bureau, P.O. Box 7057, Boston, MA 02204-7057.

If you do not do any of these things, after 30 days DOR/CSE can send you a Final Determination of Delinquency.

The Final Determination letter says that DOR/CSE has told the Registry of Motor Vehicles or other licensing authority to take away your license.

You have a right to a hearing if DOR/CSE sends you the warning letter about taking away your license.

You have 30 days from the date on the warning letter to ask DOR/CSE for a hearing.


The DOR can also have your licenses taken away if you do not obey a subpoena, warrant, or summons in a paternity case or a child support case.

What happens at the hearing?

At the hearing, you must show that

  • You do not owe any past-due child support;
  • You are not the person who owes the past-due child support; or
  • You currently obey a payment plan approved by DOR/CSE.

If you have a hearing and DOR/CSE decides that you still owe the past-due child support, they will send you a Final Determination of Delinquency.

What happens if I get a Final Determination of Delinquency?

The Final Determination of Delinquency says that DOR/CSE told the Registry of Motor Vehicles or other licensing authority to take away your license.  See a sample Notice To Suspend License or Certificate.

After they get the notice from DOR/CSE, the RMV or other licensing authority sends you a notice say they have taken away your license.

What can I do if I disagree with the final decision to take away my license?

You can have a court review DOR/CSE’s decision.

If you do not agree with DOR/CSE’s decision to have your license taken away, you can ask a court to look at DOR/CSE’s decision. This is called “judicial review.”

Judicial review is a complicated process.  Talk to a lawyer to find out about judicial review.

To get a judicial review, you must file a Complaint for Judicial Review within 45 days of the date on the notice from the licensing authorty that it has taken away your license.

The complaint is against DOR/CSE, not against the licensing authority.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Stop DOR from collecting

If you owe back child support to DOR, use this guided interview to stop DOR from collecting.

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