Failure To Pay Child Support Now A Crime In New York

The New York Legislature is intent on getting far more serious with “deadbeat” parents who do not pay child support.

Effective November 1, 2008, failure to pay child support may mean criminal problems for the “deadbeat” parent.

The Legislature amended New York Penal Law § 260.05(2), effective November 1, 2008, as follows:

Pursuant to New York Penal Law § 260.05(2), commencing November 1, 2008, the following will become effective:

Being a parent, guardian or other person obligated to make child support payments by an order of child support entered by a court of competent jurisdiction for a child less than eighteen years old, he or she knowingly fails or refuses without lawful excuse to provide support for such child when he or she is able to do so, or becomes unable to do so, when, though employable, he or she voluntarily terminates his or her employment, voluntarily reduces his or her earning capacity, or fails to diligently seek employment. If a person is convicted of the non-support of a child in the second degree, he or she is charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Also, commencing November 1, 2008, New York Penal Law § 260.06(1)(a) will be added so that if the party is guilty pursuant to New York Penal Law § 260.05 and was previously convicted within the preceding five (5) years for a crime in that same section, the party will be charged with non-support of a child in the first degree, a class E. Felony.

One quirk in the new law: This new law applies only to the failure to support children under the age of 18, when a child is entitled to be supported in New York until the age of 21 or sooner emancipated.

How Will It Be Implemented?

Will matrimonial judges now automatically refer “deadbeat” parents who do not pay child support to the criminal authorities?

Do attorneys have an ethical obligation to report this new crime if they have clear proof that the crime of non support of a child is occurring?

Will the District Attorney follow through on “deadbeats” and truly prosecute?

There are unanswered questions about the implementation of this new tough standard.

However, one message is crystal clear to those who are ordered to pay support: the stakes just went up. You failure to pay could run you into having a permanent criminal record, as well as potential jail time.

The best advice appears to be simple: Pay your child support!