child-support-hearingIn early October, a former resident of Marshall County discovered that failing to pay the support for his three children could land him in jail. Shawn Corwin, 30, now of Avondale, Arizona, was returned to Marshall County to face criminal charges for failure to pay his child support obligation. In May and June of this year Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman, elected to file three separate cases against Corwin in which it is alleged he failed to meet his court ordered responsibility of paying child support for his children.

Corwin is charged with nonsupport of a dependent child, a felony, for each child which he allegedly failed to support financially. A warrant for Corwin’s arrest was requested in each case. Judge Robert O. Bowen issued the warrants after agreeing there was sufficient probable cause to believe Corwin committed the offenses. Court documents indicate bond was set in the approximate amount of his support arrearage. The total bond for all three cases, again seeming to represent the amount of support allegedly owed, tallies $40,000.00. Corwin would need to deposit that amount with the Clerk of Marshall County to secure his release from jail prior to trial.

Prosecutor’s offices across the state of Indiana are tasked with collecting child support for mothers and fathers who seek assistance. If necessary, the office works with each parent to establish the genetic paternity of the child. At that time support obligations are determined based on the custodial and visitation arrangement of each family. These duties and responsibilities of local prosecutors are detailed in Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. Divisions within each county prosecutor’s office are usually labeled “IV-D” in reference to the statute governing the collection of child support.

The IV-D Division of Chipman’s office has one child support supervisor, two child support case-workers, a receptionist, and a Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (USIFSA) specialist. The supervisor of the office stated: “It’s a matter of fairness and efficiency. Efficient in the sense that our office is familiar with the judicial system, and can easily handle the challenges of establishing paternity. Fair because parents of all income ranges are given access to the court system through our office.”

It is alleged Corwin moved to Arizona some time ago, and at that time the support responsibility was made a court order in Arizona through the USIFSA process. USIFSA is a tool that allows various interstate agencies to coordinate their efforts to collect child support. Corwin was arrested in Arizona on the warrants issued by Judge Bowen. At that time the local law enforcement agency contacted the Marshall County Prosecutor’s office to coordinate his extradition and transport back to Indiana. The cost of the transport is added to Mr. Corwin’s ultimate financial responsibility.

As to Corwin’s conduct and behavior Chipman stated: “It appears [Corwin] was purposely evading our efforts to collect the support for his minor children living in our area.” He stressed any obligation to support a child does not end when a parent physically moves away from their children. Of the procedure in this case Chipman had this to say, “I am proud of the staff’s diligent work on all of these type cases. It is important to allow Mr. Corwin the opportunity to speak for his actions, and particularly in this case, his inactions. Our main focus is obtaining the past due child support, incentivize the behavior to pay current child support, and to deter other absent parents from following the path of non-support.  Mr. Corwin will be treated no different than any other criminal defendant. To that end, he will be afforded the presumption of innocence throughout his criminal proceedings.”

Corwin appeared in the Marshall Superior Court No. 1 after arriving in Indiana. He will be in court later this month for a pre-trial conference, where he or his attorney will discuss the case with the prosecutor.