Ohio, like New York, has both civil and criminal penalties for failure to pay child support. Unlike New York though, prosecutors in Ohio will indict and prosecute those who fail to pay their child support.
It was recently announced that Cuyahoga County, Ohio has indicted eight people (seven fathers and one mother) for their failure to pay court-ordered child support. If convicted, each parent could be sentenced to up to a year in prison. Under the New York Penal Law, “Non-support of a Child in the First Degree” is a class E felony and is therefore punishable by up to four years in prison. Despite this, most District Attorneys’ Offices decline to prosecute non-payment of child support because they believe it is more appropriately handled in a civil court.
Of course, incarceration is always a last resort when discussing enforcement of support orders. Incarcerating the non-custodial parent prevents that parent from working and makes it more difficult to pay support. Additionally, jails are overcrowded and each additional prisoner increases the taxpayer’s financial burden.