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Criminal Nonsupport and Child Support

Criminal Nonsupport and Child Support

Court HouseUpdated  January 2013

Parents have a legal obligation to provide support for their children and failure to provide such support is considered a crime against the state, generally known as criminal nonsupport. Criminal nonsupport statutes exist, in some form, in all 50 states. The severity of the punishments range from misdemeanors with small fines and short jail sentences to felonies with high fines and lengthy prison terms. While the elements of the statutes vary from state to state, generally a state must prove that (1) the defendant acted knowingly or intentionally; and (2) the defendant failed to provide support. The chart below outlines the type of crime and the maximum penalties available for criminal nonsupport in all 50 states.

 

Criminal Nonsupport 50 State Table

State

Citation

Classification

Crime

Maximum Penalty

Alabama

13A-13-4

Nonsupport

Class A Misdeameanor

1 year, $2,000 fine

Alaska

11.51.120

Criminal Nonsupport

Class A Misdemeanor
Class C Felony ($20,000 arrearage, or 24+ months w/ no payment. 
If the obligor has a previous conviction $5,000 arrearage, or 6+ months w/ no payment.)

1 year, $5,000 fine, loss of recreational license;
5 years, loss of recreational license

Arizona

13-3611

Failure to Support

Class 1 Misdemeanor

Up to $2,500 fine, 6 months in jail

Arkansas

5-26-401

Nonsupport

Class A Misdemeanor;
Class D Felony for attempting to leave state to avoid payment

1 year, $1,000 fine;
6 years or $10,000 paid to spouse

California

Penal Code, §270

Failure to Provide

Misdemeanor

1 year, $2,000

Colorado

14-6-101

Nonsupport of Child

Class 5 Felony

1-2 years, $1,000 fine

Connecticut

53-304

Nonsupport

 

1 year

Delaware

11-5-1113

Criminal Nonsupport;
Aggravated Criminal Nonsupport

Class B Misdemeanor;
Class A Misdemeanor (4 months arrearage w/out multiple offenses);
Class G Felony ($10,000 arrearage, or 8+ months w/ no payment)

6 months, $1,150;
1 year, $2,300;
2 years

Florida

775.082, 775.083

Nonsupport of Dependants

1st degree Misdemeanor;
3rd degree Felony (for 4th and subsequent convictions or the obligor owes more than 1 year of support equal or greater than $5,000)

1st degree Misdemeanor: 1 year, $1,000 fine.3rd degree Felony:
5 years, $5,000 fine.

Georgia

19-10-1

Abandonment of Dependent Child

Misdemeanor;
Felony (if leaves state or 3rd offense)

1 year, $1,000;
1-3 years

Hawaii

709-903

Persistent Nonsupport

Misdemeanor

1 year

Idaho

18-401

Desertion and Nonsupport of
Children or Wife

Felony

14 years, $500 fine

Illinois

750 ILCS 16/15

Failure to Support

1st offense: Class A Misdemeanor ($5,000+ arrearage, or 6+ months w/ no payment)
Multiple offenses: Class 4 Felony ($10,000+ arrearage, or 6+ months w/ no payment)

Less than 1 year, $2,500 fine;
8 years and up to $25,000 fine

Indiana

35-46-1-5

Nonsupport of a Child

Class D Felony;
Class C Felony (if support owed is at least $15,000)

Class D felony: 3 years, $10,000 fine; Class C felony: 8 years, $10,000 fine

Iowa

726.5

Nonsupport

Class D Felony

5 years, $5,000 fine

Kansas

21-5606

Nonsupport of a Child

Level 10 Nonperson Felony

7 months, $100,000 fine

Kentucky

530.050

Nonsupport; Flagrant Nonsupport

Class A Misdemeanor;
Class D Felony (flagrant nonsupport)

1 year;
5 years

Louisiana

14:75

Criminal Neglect of Family

 

First offense:  6 months, $5,000 fine; Second and subsequent offense:  2 years, $25,000 fine

Maine

17-A, §552

Nonsupport of Dependents

Class E crime

6 months, $1,000 fine

Maryland

Family Law, 10-203

Nonsupport of a child

Misdemeanor

3 years, $100 fine

Massachusetts

273s1

Abandonment and nonsupport

Felony

5 years, $5,000 fine

Michigan

750.165

Refusal to support

Felony

4 years, $2,000

Minnesota

609.375

Nonsupport of spouse or child

Misdemeanor;
Gross Misdemeanor (over 90 days);
Felony (over 180 days)

90 days, $700;
1 year, $3,000;
2 years, $5,000

Mississippi

97-5-3

Desertion or Nonsupport

Felony: 1st offense                       
2nd and subsequent offenses

5 years, $500 fine; 5 years
(no less than 2 years), $10,000 fine

Missouri

568.040

Criminal Nonsupport

Class A Misdemeanor;
Class D Felony (no payment 6 mos out of 12, or arrearage of $5000+)

1 year, $1,000;
5 years, $5,000

Montana

45-5-621

Nonsupport

Nonsupport;
Aggravated Nonsupport (if obligor leaves state or has prior conviction)

6 months, $500 fine;
2 years, $5,000 for 6 mos nonsupport;
10 years, $50,000 for aggravated ns

Nebraska

28-706

Criminal Nonsupport

Class II Misdemeanor; Class IV Felony (if in violation of court order)

6months, $1,000;
5years, $10,000

Nevada

201.020

Nonsupport

Misdemeanor; Class C felony(for repeat or excessive offenses)

6 months, $1,000;
5 years, $10,000

New Hampshire

639:4

Nonsupport

Class A Misdemeanor;
Class B Felony (for 1 year or $10,000 of arrearage or repeat offense)

1 year, $2,000;
7 years, $4,000

New Jersey

2C:24-5

Willful Nonsupport

Crime of the 4th degree

18 months, $10,000

New Mexico

30-6-2

Abandonment of Dependent

4th Degree felony

18 months, $5,000

New York

Penal Code, 260.05, 260.06

1st degree Nonsupport,
2nd degree (repeat offense)

Class A Misdemeanor;
Class E Felony

1 year, $1,000;
4 years, $5,000

North Carolina

14-322

Failure to support

1st offense: Class 2 Misdemeanor;
subsequent offenses: Class 1 Misd.

$1,000, 30 days;
Fine at discretion of judge, 45 days

North Dakota

14-07-15

Abandonment or Nonsupport of child

Class C Felony

5 years, $5,000

Ohio

2919.21

Nonsupport

1st Degree Misdemeanor;
5th Degree Felony (nonsupport for 26 weeks out of 104);
4th Degree Felony (repeat offense)

6 months, $1,000;
12 months, $,2500;
18 months, $5,000

Oklahoma

31-852

Willful Nonsupport

Misdemeanor; Felony (repeat offenses or leaving state)

1 year, $1,000;
4 years, $5,000

Oregon

163.555

Criminal Nonsupport

Class C Felony

5 years, $100,000

Pennsylvania

18.4731

Willful Nonsupport

3rd Degree Misdemeanor

1 year, $500

Rhode Island

11-2-1, 11-2-1.1

Willful Nonsupport

Misdemeanor; Felony ($30,000 arrearage or 3 years)

6 months;
5 years

South Carolina

20-7-90

Nonsupport

Misdemeanor

1 year, $1,500

South Dakota

25-7-16

Nonsupport

Class 1 misdemeanor; Class 6 Felony (leaving state)

1 year, $1,000;
2 years, $2,000

Tennessee

39-15-101

Nonsupport,
Flagrant Nonsupport

Class A Misdemeanor;
Class E Felony

11 months, 29 days, $2,500;
6 years, $3,000

Texas

Penal Code, §25.05

Criminal Nonsupport

State Jail Felony

2 years, $10,000

Utah

76-7-201

Criminal Nonsupport

Class A Misdemeanor; 3rd Degree Felony (prior conviction,
nonsupport 18 out of 24 months, $10,000 arrearage, or leave state)

1 year, $2,500;
5 years, $5,000

Vermont

15-202

Nonsupport

 

2 years, $300

Virginia

20-61

Nonsupport

Misdemeanor

1 year, $500, or $1,000 payable to spouse or child's guardian

Washington

26.20.035

Family Nonsupport

Gross Misdemeanor

1 year, $5,000

West Virginia

61-5-29

Failure to support

Misdemeanor; Felony (for over $8000 or one year)

1 year, $1,000;
3 years, $1,000

Wisconsin

948.22

Failure to support

Class A Misdemeanor;
Class I Felony (for over 120 days)

9 months, $10,000;
2 years, $10,000

Wyoming

20-3-101

Refusal to support

Misdemeanor

6 months, $750;
1 year, $1,000 (for previous conviction or failure to pay within 60 days)

Source: WestLaw and NCSL Research, 2012

*PLEASE NOTE: The National Conference of State Legislatures is an organization serving state legislators and their staff. We cannot offer legal advice or assistance with individual cases, but we do try to answer questions on general topics.

About This NCSL Project

NCSL staff in D.C. and Denver can provide comprehensive, thorough, and timely information on critical child support policy issues. We provide services to legislators and staff working to improve state policies affecting children and their families. NCSL's online clearinghouse for state legislators includes resources on child support police, financing, laws, research and promicing practices. Technical assistance visits to states are available to any state legisalture that would like training or assistance related to this topic.  

The Denver-based child support project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child support issues before Congress and the Administration. In D.C., Joy Johnson Wilson (joy.wilson@ncsl.org) and Rachel Morgan (rachel.morgan@ncsl.org) can be reached at (202) 624-5400.

The child support project and D.C. human services staff receive guidance and support from NCSL's Standing Committee on Health & Human Services.

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