Evasion of Child’s Maintenance and the Problems of Its Criminal Legal Evaluation

Kristina Grinevičiūtė


Lithuanian Law provides criminal liability for evasion of child’s maintenance (Article 164 of the CC). This norm directly criminalizes civil law breach, i.e. such crime allows punishing for debts (debt for child’s maintenance, occurred on the basis of court decision). In practice, non-fulfillment of the court decision of child’s maintenance raises a number of questions, whereas it is not clear from which moment the person is held criminally liable and when it is enough to apply other techniques. The criteria of predetermining convicting of a person are not clear. This article analyzes the evasion of child’s maintenance and the problems of its criminal legal evaluation. The objective of the article is to define criminal liabilities for evasion of child’s maintenance according to court decision criteria on the basis of systematic, logical court practice analysis.
Evasion of child’s maintenance is predetermined by the existing social problem and its solution demand. Crime does not distinguish itself with smooth legal technique, however, the evasion of child’s maintenance cannot be categorically excluded (decriminalized), whereas civil law means are insufficient to defend interests of aggrieved children. Criminal liability is an efficient method to deal with criminals, evading child’s maintenance, however, this shall not be evaluated as a principal, efficient measure for solution of such type of issues. This means that criminal liability shall be applied only in exceptional cases, when it is impossible to apply lenient measures (of civil or administrative procedure).
In criminal codes of foreign countries non-fulfillment of the duty to maintain a child has an individual legal meaning and is considered a crime. Criteria of evasion of child’s maintenance (consequences, crime commission method, duration, etc.), established in criminal codes of foreign countries, are also widely applicable in practice of Lithuanian courts.
Components of crime related to evasion of child’s maintenance are noninformative, according to the described essential elements, as this essential element does not demonstrate greater hazard of the act and is improper restriction criterion. Credit legal status aggravating criterion is highly efficient for restriction of criminal and civil liability in cases referred to in this category. However, according to Article 164 of the CC, criminal liability shall occur in case if the person’s property status and ability to work, nature of the breach, damage sustained due to failure to act or potential damage, duration, abuse really allow deciding on great hazard of such inactivity and significant negation of the object defended by this legal norm.


evasion; child maintenance; child; criminal liability; criminalization

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SMS-14-6-2-11


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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236