Federal criminal prosecution
The child support office can refer a parent to the U.S. 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.
The child support office may consider this if all of the following are true:
- A court-ordered child support obligation exists.
- The parent who owes support:
- 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 legal remedies, such as contempt.
The child support office will not refer a parent if any of the following is true:
- The case does not meet the criteria
- Court order prohibits federal criminal prosecution
- The parent filed bankruptcy and remains protected.
- 18 United States Code, section 228