Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Nonsupport Charges in Iowa

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Iowa Criminal Law » Nonsupport Charges in Iowa

Iowa defines the crime of nonsupport in Iowa Code section 726.5 as follows:


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A person, who being able to do so, fails or refuses to provide support for the person’s child or ward under the age of eighteen years for a period longer than one year or in an amount greater than five thousand dollars commits nonsupport; provided that no person shall be held to have violated this section who fails to support any child or ward under the age of eighteen who has left the home of the parent or other person having legal custody of the child or ward without the consent of that parent or person having legal custody of the child or ward. “Support”, for the purposes of this section, means any support which has been fixed by court order, or, in the absence of any such order or decree, the minimal requirements of food, clothing or shelter. Nonsupport is a class “D” felony.

Nonsupport charges are common in cases where a person is ordered to pay child support in Iowa and willfully refuses to do so.  Charges of nonsupport can also be brought even when there is no court order, if a parent or other legal guardian willfully doesn’t meet a child’s basic needs for food and a place to live (although those charges are rarer).

A person who does not pay child support as ordered can also face a Rule to Show Cause, which is a separate civil contempt action that can be brought independently of nonsupport charges.


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