Friday, January 4, 2008

Child Support as a Federal Crime

Count a day where you learn nothing new a bad day. From the Iowa Family Law Blog, I learned the existence of a federal criminal law on child support. See Interesting Decision re. Federal Prosecution for Non-Payment of Child Support:

"In an interesting (in a lawyerly kind of way) decision, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the federal conviction of a father who failed to pay child support. The Court found that the federal statute in question, the 'Child Support Recovery Act,' 18 U.S.C. § 228(a)(1) (2000), requires that the 'government must prove that the defendant knew his child resided in another state.' In this particulate case, it was alleged that the custodial parent moved the child from state to state and that the defendant/payor did not know where his child lived. Although the government argued that the the statute's requirement that the child reside in a different state than the payor was merely jurisdictional, the Court found otherwise and held that knowledge of the out-of-state residency requirement was a substantive element of the statute required for conviction."

Decision: U.S. v. Fields.

The Cornell Law School/LII has a copy of the United States Code and 18 U.S.C. 228 can be found here. The same site provides a short legislative history of the statue here. What I learned there, Congress called this law the "Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998"

If anyone has any experience with this statute please chime in via the Comments section below. I doubt the United States Attorney's office spends much time with these cases as I have never heard of the statute let alone a prosecution until I saw the blog post above.

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