If you have a legal obligation to pay child support and develop an arrearage, you can be charged with criminal non-support. This is an extraordinarily difficult area of the law because the obligated parent wants to pay their child support, but issues outside of their control, such as the job market and local economy, play a role.
In Missouri, a person commits the crime of non-support if he or she knowingly fails to provide, without good cause, adequate support for his or her child. The law can apply to spousal support (maintenance), but this situation is not as common the issues with child support.
Criminal non-support can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense. Whether is it charged as felony or misdemeanor depends on the amount owed. Criminal non-support is a misdemeanor, unless the total arrearage is in excess of an aggregate of twelve monthly payments due in which case it is a class D felony.
Defenses exist to the charge of criminal non-support. Typically, the obligated parent can establish that "good cause" existed to not pay the support. This typically involves, among othe r things, a lack of employment, recent job loss or inability to work due to illness. Each criminal non-support case will be different and the O'Fallon Law Firm, LLC will discuss whether this particular defense applies to your case.
If you have been charged with criminal non-support, you are facing serious penalties, which may include shock incarceration, fines, restitution, and probation. Commonly, you will be placed on probation with a requirement that you make your current monthly obligation plus some amount towards the existing arrearage.
Please call Missouri criminal non-support attorney Doug Smith at the O'Fallon Law Firm LLC if you are need of quality legal services.