New law allows restricted driver’s licenses for noncustodial parents
Effective July 1, noncustodial parents in Tennessee who have their licenses suspended or revoked due to nonpayment of child support may be eligible under T.C.A. §36-5-714 to apply for and receive a restricted driver’s license if they can prove that they are working at least thirty (30) hours per week and living more than one (1) mile away from their job or school.
This new law seeks to eliminate barriers that prevent noncustodial parents from maintaining steady employment and paying their child support timely. Upon meeting all the statutory requirements and being deemed eligible for the program, noncustodial parents will be required to pay a nonrefundable $30 fee. Accepted applicants will then receive an approved Application for Restricted License in the mail which must be carried while operating a vehicle.
Each case will be monitored by the newly established Child Support Central Office Restricted License Unit (RLU) in Nashville for compliance with the court order. If the noncustodial parent stops paying as ordered, the RLU can take action to revoke the restricted license as necessary. However, if the noncustodial parent maintains employment and continues to pay as ordered, the case can be reviewed by the RLU to fully reinstate the driver’s license after a period of time.
The restricted license program does have some notable exclusions to eligibility that apply. A noncustodial parent is not eligible for a restricted license if his/her license has been suspended or revoked for reasons other than child support. Further, a restricted license cannot be issued for a commercial driver license (CDL) or for the sole purpose of attending school.
This new law was passed to benefit children and families, and its implementation looks promising for all parties involved. Noncustodial parents who are interested in applying for a restrictive driver’s license should contact their local child support office for more details. The 25th Judicial District Attorney General maintains Child Support Offices in Covington (901) 475-2535, and in Bolivar (731) 659-3215.