Under the laws of the United States of America, it is considered to be a legal and moral imperative that parents provide financial support to their children. In the event that parents raise children outside of the traditional nuclear family structure, a noncustodial parent is thus typically expected to provide money to the other parent who is caring for the child.
The obligation to pay child support is a non-negotiable requirement in most circumstances.
Child support cannot be waived in a prenuptial agreement or during a divorce, and a parent who is not raising his or her children will be expected to pay it. A parent cannot just relinquish his or her parental rights to be absolved of child support either. The court will only terminate rights with a good reason to do so, and a parent who doesn’t want a child and who was not involved in the child’s life will still be obligated to pay support.
The specific amount of child support that may be owed by a noncustodial parent will vary based on the circumstances. There are different laws from state to state that establish standard formulas for local residents to determine how much child support a noncustodial parent should pay. Deviation from the standard formula for support in each state is typically not allowed unless there is a very good reason for such deviation.
The standard formula used in each state to determine support typically takes into account issues such as who will have custody of the children for the bulk of the time, how many children there are, and what parental income and obligations are. It is assumed parents with joint or partial custody are caring for the children while the children are with them, so this could reduce support.
While the standard formula differs by state, all states have in common the fact that they are strict about making sure parents pay support. And it is not just the states.
According to 18 U.S. Code Chapter 11a, a defendant who fails to pay child support could actually be convicted of a federal offense.
If you are accused of failure to pay child support and are being charged with a crime under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 11a, you are at great risk of being sent to prison. You need to work with an experienced attorney who can help you to fight for your rights.
LV Criminal Defense is ready to provide the help and support you need, so give us a call today. We represent clients in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah, so if you live in these locales or surrounding areas, give us a call for assistance.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
Within Title 18 Chapter 11A of the U.S. Code — which is the chapter of federal law that deals with a failure to pay child support — there is one statute.
That statute is 18 U.S. Code section 228 and it defines when a failure to pay child support is a federal crime and what the consequences of conviction are.
According to the relevant statute, any person who willfully (intentionally) doesn’t pay child support for a child who lives in another state could be charged with a crime under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 11A if the nonpaying parent has not made a payment within the course of a year. If the nonpaying parent owes more than $5,000 in child support for a child living in another state, then the parent could also be charged with a federal offense under 18 U.S. Code section 228.
A defendant could also be charged under this statute for traveling in interstate commerce or foreign commerce for the purposes of trying to avoid paying required child support that the law makes clear is owed.
A defendant can be charged if the balance has remained unpaid for longer than a year or if the balance exceeds $5,000.
In cases where a defendant is accused of a failure to comply with the law and pay child support, the existence of the support obligation in effect during the time period covered in the indictment creates a reputable presumption that the defendant actually owed the support.
If a defendant is found to have not paid child support, penalties could include up to six months of imprisonment and a fine. These are the penalties for a first offense. If a defendant travels in interstate commerce to try to evade support and either hasn’t paid for a year or has an outstanding balance greater than $5,000, the potential penalty could include a fine and a maximum of two years imprisonment. A second offense for nonpayment after conviction for the first crime can also result in more than two years imprisonment along with fines.
Mandatory restitution is also typically ordered in circumstances where a defendant is facing criminal charges for unpaid child support. When the court orders restitution, the defendant will be ordered to pay an amount equal to the total unpaid sum of the outstanding child support as of the time of sentencing.
The statute also goes on to establish the venue where a support case can be brought, as well as to define certain words used.
A federal criminal lawyer can provide extensive assistance to those who are accused of committing a child support crime and who want to minimize the damage that the accusation can do.
With help from an experienced attorney you may be able to avoid serious penalties for alleged nonpayment of child support. Whether this is done through the negotiation of a plea agreement or through defending you in court, LV Criminal Defense will help you to respond to charges in the most appropriate way possible.
To find out more about how our legal team can help you if you are accused of a federal crime and you live in Utah, California, Arizona, or Nevada, give us a call today.