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New York Penal Law 260.06: Non-support of a child in the first degree

By Spodek Law Group | May 3, 2017
(Last Updated On: July 26, 2023)

Last Updated on: 26th July 2023, 08:56 pm

A responsibility of a parent is to provide the necessary support of a child. When this support is not given in an intentional fashion, then it’s considered non-support in the first degree. The person who is charged with the crime could be the parent, a guardian or another person who is legally responsible for the well-being of the child. There are a few elements that are considered before charges are given. One is that the child must be 16 years of age or younger. The parent or guardian must refuse to provide support without a lawful or reasonable excuse.

Not paying child support that is ordered by a court is also considered non-support of a child. The legal age requirement is 18 when it comes to non-payment of child support. Prosecutors will often enforce charges in the first-degree for those who have had the same charge or similar issues within the prior five years compared to those who haven’t dealt with non-support in the past. This charge is considered a class E felony. Because the crime is a felony, the punishment can be a bit more severe than a misdemeanor. Punishment could include time spent in jail up to four years and fines to be paid that would be used for the support of the child. The support that is being withheld from the child could include monetary support, food, adequate shelter or water. If the child is not supported in any way and the parent or guardian is in the home, then this would constitute charges being filed regardless of how minor the issue would be in the home.

Examples Of Non-Support
An example would be that a father is behind on child support payments. The mother of the child asks that the father pay the amount that is owed so that the child is taken care of in the proper manner. The father claims to not have the money for the payment, and the mother contacts the proper authorities to have something done about not complying with the order. The father would then face charges of non-support because of not abiding by the order that was issued for the support of the child.

Another example would be when parents live in the same home with the child and don’t provide physical support needed for the child. The parents might make the child live in a home that doesn’t have food in the refrigerator or running water. Parents of a child who don’t provide clean clothing or provide a way for the child to get to school would also be charged with non-support.

Common Defenses
Many parents believe that not working or not having enough money would be a defense used for non-support. This is typically not an excuse that will hold up in court. A NYC criminal lawyer can examine the evidence that is presented about not supporting the child, possibly forcing the prosecution to prove that support has not been given. A common defense is that the child isn’t biologically the defendant’s and that there is no financial obligation. The defendant might not have known about the child to provide support in the first place. Those who are ordered to pay support might directly give money to the custodial parent instead of sending it to the state agency.

New York Penal Law 260.05: Non-support of a child in the second degree

New York Penal Law 260.05 is in place regarding the laws surrounding child support. When a man and woman have a child, their job is to provide proper and adequate support to the child in question. The law states parents are legally responsible to support children they have, and there is no way around that law. While it’s typically reserved for those who don’t pay their child support as issued by a court of law, it’s also a problem in other situations. Non-support of a child in the second degree is a problem in many New York families, and that’s why the law was enacted to protect the children whose parents are not performing their legal duties.

Non-support of a child in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor. This means it’s not one of the most major crimes a person can commit, but it’s worthy of a long as one year in prison if you choose to ignore you child support obligations. If jail time is not the punishment chosen for a parent, it might be as many as three years on probation as dictated by a court of law. The only people who can be accused of non-support of a child in the second degree are legal parents, guardians, and anyone else responsible for the support of the child in question in a legal aspect.

Examples of Non-Support in the Second Degree

Many examples of non-support in this manner are evident in New York, which is one of the reasons NYC criminal attorneys always have plenty of work. A good example of a person who is guilty of non-support in the second degree is a father who is ordered by the court to pay child support of a set amount each month. If the father decides he is no longer interested in paying support for his children, he stops paying. If the mother chooses to notify a court of law about his lack of payment, he can be imprisoned for up to one year or forced to spend three years on probation if he is unable to make his payments current or she chooses to go forth with pressing charges.

There are always some stipulations in play in a case like this, such as a father is laid off of his job and temporarily out of work. When this happen, he merely contacts the court and allows them to look into his situation to create a temporary solution to his issues. It’s when the father purposefully chooses to stop paying or renders himself unable to pay by quitting his job in favor no longer paying support that is a cause for concern.


Any criminal attorney who has the means can prove you are unable to pay child support will do so. The best- and only – defense in a case like this is proof you are unable to pay child support, and that’s why you quit. If the opposing counsel can prove at all that you chose to put yourself in a situation where making payment is impossible or that you simply chose to keep your funds rather than sending them to your child, you will be prosecuted.

It’s best to stay ahead of a game like this one by notifying the court if you are experiencing financial issues that prevent you from paying your child support for any length of time. Taking this initiative is often the catalyst for the parent not supporting their child in a case like this one in New York courts of law.

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