Non-Support of a Child
In New York State, both parents are considered to be financially responsible for the child, regardless of marital status of the parents. In other articles, we have discussed child support and the different ways that a child support order can come about, but once this order is entered into the court, it cannot be ignored. If the child support is court ordered and not an oral or verbal agreement between the two parents, there are criminal charges and sanctions that can be brought against the parent ordered to pay support if they are not following the order. These charges would also apply to any person who has a child and refuses or fails to provide support for their child. Our experienced New York criminal attorneys can help you if you have been charged with non-support of a child.
Non-support of a child can be charged in two degrees, the lower being a class A misdemeanor and the higher being a class E felony. In its lower form, it applies in two situations, one where child support has been ordered and the other where it is a person who is legally supposed to be caring for or has custody of a child less than 16. If a person has been ordered to make child support payments by a court and knowingly does not make such payments, this charge would apply. Additionally, if the person voluntarily stops their employment but is able to work and fails to diligently seek employment, they could be charged with this offense.
Even without a court order, this offense could apply when a person who is legally obligated to provide care for a child and they refuse or fail to do so, or they voluntarily become unemployed and do not seek other employment. This means that a third party could bring charges against a parent who refuses or fails to provide the necessary care for their child and does so voluntarily and it would be a class A misdemeanor. This would not apply to someone who is diligently trying to find work or who was let go for reasons beyond their control.
If a person has been previously convicted of non-support of a child in the second degree in the past five years and are facing a second conviction, their charge becomes non-support of a child in the first degree which is a class E felony. Failing to make child support payments or provide support when legally obligated to a child is incredibly serious, as this can affect your future significantly if convicted. Even being convicted of the misdemeanor charge, it will mean you have a criminal record. Further conviction would result in a felony on your record which can disqualify you from being able to hold certain jobs.
If you are facing charges of non-support or believe you might soon be charged, call now for a free consultation with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys. We can help you navigate the complicated court proceedings and do our best to obtain a favorable outcome.