Traffic Law Considerations in Pennsylvania Divorce

By David E. Hershey, Traffic Violations Attorney
It is not uncommon for couples looking for PA divorce lawyers, to focus on the big issues of child custody and support, but there are lots of other small, but important, details to tend to as well when splitting up. That includes vehicle registration and insurance.

You are required to notify Penn DOT within 15 days if you change your permanent address. Therefore, if you move out of the residence that appears on your driver’s license and insurance card, you must inform Penn DOT either in person, online or by mail. Forwarding notices do not meet this requirement.

The same applies to your insurance coverage. I have seen several cases where one spouse moves out of the home and the other spouse does not forward insurance bills or notices. Insurance companies are required to notify Penn DOT if coverage has lapsed for any reason. The state can then require the registered owner to prove the lapse did not exceed 30 days and that the vehicle was not operated during the period of lapsed coverage. Failure to do so can result in a suspension of registration privileges for 90 days. In some cases, however, drivers may be allowed to pay a $500 fine in lieu of a registration suspension. Either way, the headache is generally never worth the few minutes it takes to ensure you notify Penn DOT and your insurance carrier of your address change.

Failure to update your address can be especially serious if you are involved in any kind of traffic violation, especially if the state determines your privileges are suspended due to lack of coverage. A simple speeding ticket could become significantly more serious—and expensive—if your documents are not up-to-date. And if you are caught driving with suspended registration tag, you could lose your driving privileges for 90 days.

Don’t be caught off guard. If you have any questions about how a separation or divorce could impact your driving privileges, contact us. As a divorce mediator, I’m happy to discuss the specifics of your situation and develop a plan of action.

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