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Melissa A. Featherston

Man loses medical license over child support arrearage

There are likely as many parenting styles in Missouri as there are parents. Regardless of the approach that a parent may take to raise his or her children, it is important that every parent take responsibility for the emotional and physical well-being of their children. This includes making court-ordered child support payments when applicable. In addition to the potential harm to the child, there can be serious consequences for failing to make such payments, including the loss of professional licenses, as one out-of-state man has recently learned.

Court records indicate that the man's former wife has taken him to court several times over the course of the last nine years, in an attempt to hold him accountable for the missing payments. He reportedly owes over $100,000 in payments. The state has recently taken drastic measures to attempt to force him to pay.

As a consequence of failing to support his child, the man, an eye surgeon, has been stripped of his license to practice medicine in the state of Maryland, where the case took place. Those familiar with the family court system say that this is a measure that has only been taken four other times in the state. It is generally considered a last resort by the court -- taken when there is a significant arrearage and previous measures have failed to secure payments. It is believed that the man has now left the country.

While it seems that states rarely resort to the suspension of a professional license, courts have many other options available when it comes to collecting past-due child support payments, including wage garnishment and suspension of a driver's license.  Unfortunately, missed payments can also have a negative impact on the child and his or her relationship with the parent accused of failing to pay. If someone is experiencing a substantial change in circumstances that prevent him or her from making payments in Missouri, addressing these concerns with the court and requesting a modification can help prevent such drastic measures -- like those recently taken in Maryland.

Source: wjla.com, "Maryland doctor stripped of license after failing to pay child support", Joce Sterman, Sept. 15, 2014

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