As a licensed professional, you can face disciplinary action by your licensing board or agency based on numerous grounds, and, as a result, you can receive various consequences. In some professions, a failure to pay child support can cause your licensing board to bring disciplinary proceedings against you. If you are facing disciplinary proceedings before your professional licensing board or agency, you should not hesitate to contact a licensing board defense lawyer for advice and counsel. We can determine what strategies are most likely to be effective in defending you from adverse action against your license.
When a Professional License May Be Suspended for Child Support
Under Tex. Family Code § 232.003, a court or a Title IV-D agency (a state agency that enforces child support orders) may issue an order suspending the license of an obligor who:
- owes overdue child support in an amount equal to or greater than the total support due for three months under a support order;
- has been provided an opportunity to make payments toward the overdue child support under a court-ordered or agreed repayment schedule; and
- has failed to comply with the repayment schedule.
- 232.001(1) defines “license” as any license, certificate, registration, authorization, or other permit that a licensing authority issues, is subject before expiration to renewal, suspension, revocation, forfeiture, or termination by a licensing authority and that a person must obtain to engage in a particular business, occupation, or profession.
The Process of Suspending a Professional License for Child Support
Under § 232.007, an individual who has received a notice of license suspension must file a request for a hearing and a motion to stay the suspension within 20 days of being served with the notice of suspension. The court or Title IV-D agency shall promptly schedule a hearing and stay the suspension pending the hearing.
However, if the individual fails to request a hearing or requests a hearing and then fails to appear at the hearing, the court or Title IV-D agency may issue an order of suspension by default under § 232.009.
After the hearing, if the court or Title IV-D agency makes the findings listed in § 232.003, it shall issue an order suspending the individual’s license unless the individual:
- proves that all arrearages and the current month’s support have been paid;
- shows good cause for failure to comply with the subpoena or the terms of the court order providing for the possession of or access to a child; or
- establishes an affirmative defense as provided by Section 157.008(c).
A final order suspending a license, or revoking the stay of a license suspension, shall be forwarded to the appropriate licensing authority. The order also may direct the individual to refrain from engaging in the licensed activity during the suspension period. If issued by a Title IV-D agency, an order of suspension is a final agency order subject to review like any other final government agency order.
Staying a Professional License Suspension
The court or Title IV-D agency also may stay an order of suspension if it is conditioned on an individual’s compliance with the following:
- a reasonable repayment schedule that is incorporated in the order;
- the requirements of a reissued and delivered subpoena; or
- the requirements of any court order about the possession of or access to a child.
However, the court or Title IV-D agency may only stay an order of suspension as described above if the individual makes an immediate partial payment in an amount specified of not less than $200.
- 232.012 permits the obligee in the child support case, the court, or the Title IV-D agency to file a motion to revoke the stay of any order suspending an individual’s license under certain circumstances. More specifically, the order staying the suspension may be revoked if the individual fails to comply with the following:
- the terms of a reasonable repayment plan entered into by the individual;
- the requirements of a reissued subpoena; or
- the terms of any court order about the possession of or access to a child.
The individual must receive notice of the motion to revoke the stay, which must allege the specific manner in which the individual has failed to comply with the order staying the suspension. The notice also must include a notice of hearing. The individual must have at least ten days’ notice of the hearing date. After the hearing, the IV-D agency or court will issue an order revoking the suspension if it finds that the individual has failed to comply with the order.
Licensing Authority Action Upon License Suspension
Under §232.011, when a licensing authority receives a final order suspending an individual’s license, it must immediately determine whether it has issued a license to the individual named in the order and, if a license has been issued:
- record the suspension of the license in the licensing authority’s records;
- report the suspension as appropriate; and
- demand surrender of the suspended license if required by law for other cases in which a license is suspended.
The licensing authority must implement the suspension without further review or hearing. It also may modify, remand, reverse, vacate, or stay an order suspending a license issued under this chapter. Furthermore, it may not review, vacate, or reconsider the terms of a final order suspending a license. However, it may provide notice of the suspension to the license holder or others concerned with the license.
Finally, under § 232.011(e), an individual who continues to engage in the business, occupation, profession, or other licensed activity after the implementation of the order suspending license by the licensing authority is liable for the same civil and criminal penalties provided for engaging in the licensed activity without a license or while a license is suspended that apply to any other license holder of that licensing authority.
Standing Up for Your Rights, Defending Your License
Facing an investigation and potential disciplinary proceedings before your professional licensing board can be difficult and stressful, especially if you are unsure what to expect. In addition, you may fear the consequences of those proceedings on your career and future. Together, we can work to resolve your disciplinary investigation in the most positive manner possible. Get legal assistance from an experienced Texas licensing board defense attorney today. Contact Bertolino LLP at (512) 515-9518 or visit us online.