Paying a child support order is very important. In fact it is so important that it is one of the few exceptions to the idea behind debtor’s prison. Essentially, it is one of the few debts that can result in you being jailed.
This can be taken a step further as failure to pay child support can lead to the filing of felony charges. It is possible that a person who has failed to pay their child support order could be facing a possible Class D or Class C Felony, both of which can lead to a period of incarceration in the Department of Corrections.
Surely, a child support felony requires me to be seriously behind in my support payments, right?
Not exactly. Under Indiana Code 35-46-1-5, you just have to fail to provide support to be charged with a Class D Felony. A couple of missed payments and you could be looking at a felony case. The reality is that most prosecutor’s office are going to want to see more than a couple of missed payments before they file charges, but the point is that it doesn’t take much to be able to be charged and convicted of a Class D Felony Non-Support case.
As for a Class C Felony, the only difference is that you have to be behind more than $15,000 in child support.
There seems to be a push every once in a while to add more severe charges such as a B Felony for even being behind more than $15,000. None of these changes have passed, possibly due to the economic reality that we are currently in, no one is working and the state has no money to house inmates, but it is possible that someday a Class B Felony could be added to the non-support statute.