Child Support – Federal Criminal Prosecution

Federal criminal prosecution for non-payment of support can be used as a tool to enforce a court order for child support.

The child support agency can refer a parent to the United States Attorney’s Office for federal criminal prosecution for intentionally not paying support.

The U.S. attorney gives priority to cases where the parent who owes child support:

  • • Moves from state to state to avoid payment
  • • Owes at least $50,000
  • • Fails to pay support after being found in contempt of court
  • • Fails to make support payments in connection with another federal offense
  • • Fails to pay support on a case including at least one minor child.
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    The child support office will do this if all of the following are true:

  • • A court-ordered child support obligation exists.
  • • The noncustodial parent:
  • • Knew of the support obligation
  • • Had the ability to pay the support
  • • Willfully failed to pay the support
  • • Crossed state lines to avoid paying the support
  • • Has not made any payments within the last year or has accrued arrears of at least $50,000.
  • • The child support office has exhausted all reasonable, available legal remedies, such as contempt.
  • Exclusions

    The child support office will not refer a parent if any of the following are true:

  • • The case or cases do not meet the criteria above
  • • A court order that prohibits federal criminal prosecution
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  • The parent filed bankruptcy and remains protected.
  • Authority

  • • 18 United Stated Code, section 228

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