The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office is offering parents who lost their driver’s licenses because they struggled to pay child support an opportunity to get back on the road.
State officials can suspend a parent’s driver’s license when they fall more than $2,000 behind in payments. It’s a rule that currently affects around 11,000 people in Marion County, limiting their ability to drive and find stable employment.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said losing a license is a barrier to holding a job, which could prevent parents from making child support payments in the future.
That’s why his team came up with the Good Faith Initiative. They are launching the program in December because the month historically sees the lowest total child support payments across the county, according to Mears.
Parents who participate are asked to commit to paying what they afford in an agreement they will outline with the prosecutor’s office. If a parent can demonstrate they will make a “good faith” effort to pay off their total debt — whether that’s in $20 or $200 payments — the office will reinstate the license.
“You don’t have to wipe out that entire $2,000 or $5,000 or $10,000 obligation,” Mears said. “All I’m asking is that you make a good faith effort moving forward to try and pay your child support, and we’re going to get you your license back.”
Although the office will also need to verify a permanent address and employer, Mears said he wants parents to know that shouldn’t prevent them from pursuing the opportunity.
“There are people who are out there who don’t have jobs, whose living situations are maybe not as stable as they would like,” Mears said. “We’re still going to help those people out as well. That’s not going to be a barrier to this program.”
Mears warned, though, licenses can’t be reinstated permanently. If a parent breaks the agreement in a three-month window, their license will be suspended again.
Interested parents can call the Good Faith Hotline at 317-327-2700, or email CSGoodFaith@indy.gov for more information.