Always Leave a Paper Trail
Video Transcribed: My name is Brian L. Jackson, I’m a Dads’ rights attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Today we’re going to talk about the importance of keeping proper records and always leaving a paper trail behind whenever you deal with your children’s mother. Now I’ve talked in the past about the importance of communicating with your children’s mother in writing through the use of text messages or emails because it preserves a record of exactly what was said.
Today I want to focus on creating a paper trail anytime you engage in a financial transaction with the children’s mother. Pay a medical bill, pay child support, give a gift to the children, or any other kind of financial or real goods transaction with the children’s mother. Now, this is really important and there are a number of ways you can do this. In the case of child support, you can actually set it up to pay child support into the Department of Human Services rather than paying directly to her.
This is a good idea. It’s a pain in the neck, and I have had clients tell me, well, I don’t want to deal with this hassle. I totally appreciate that. It’s a pain in the neck, and they’re very particular about how you pay it and when and in what manner. If it’s not done exactly right, it doesn’t count.
However, the payoff for that is that if you do pay it correctly, DHS keeps records. Now you should keep an eye on this. Don’t just rely on them to be your record keeper entirely.
If you keep an eye on it and you’re diligent and you pay on time and you always pay on time and you pay correctly, it’ll create a paper trail for you. If she ever tries to take you to court and claim that you’re not paying child support, you have something you can bring to court with you showing, yes I did.
Now, another thing to think about doing is if you need to pay the medical bill, well, how should you pay it? A lot of people get tempted to do things like paying it in cash. Bad idea. Never pay it in cash. You should always pay a medical bill. If it’s some kind of a copay or something that’s uninsured, for any reason whatsoever, you use a credit card or use a check.
I would recommend a credit card for the simple reason that it’s nice and traceable. It leaves behind a record of the transaction, including the date, time, and amount of money spent. Hang onto those credit card statements at the end of the month, and make sure that you can show exactly what you paid, where you paid it, who the merchant was, or who the provider was, and that it was in fact done.
Again, if there’s ever an accusation that you owe money for some medical bill, all you have to do is get those records. Get the bill from the provider. You get your credit card receipts or your statement. There you go. Don’t have a credit card? Well, a debit card works great too. Just the same. Just make sure you hang onto those bank records and make sure you can recover them if you ever need to.
If you’re paying child support directly to the children’s mother, I would suggest going through the Department of Human Services instead. If you can’t do that, or if that’s not something, if you’re really insistent, always pay her using something that leaves a paper trail, like a check.
I would say a personal check or something equivalent to that, that you can trace. Where you have a paper trail behind you that it was paid, and it was paid according to whatever it says in the order on the child support order or the decree, whatever. Make sure that it’s done correctly and make sure you hang onto that paper trail. Keep those bank statements.
If her check goes uncashed, find out why because this can keep you off of the infamous Tulsa rocket docket. That’s the docket that child support [inaudible 00:04:14] can wind up on if they get behind on child support and mom files contempt. The judges on that docket will put you in jail if they think you’re not paying. Or if they determine you’re not paying. This is why it’s really important to keep a paper trail. How about Christmas gifts?
This is another example of where you should keep a paper trail. This one is important for a couple of reasons. If you ever find yourself in court over custody and she’s alleging for example, that you don’t do anything for your kids. Well, this is evidence of yes, I do.
If there’s an allegation you don’t have that much of a relationship with your kids. Yes, I do. In an extreme case, let’s say that mom remarries and the stepdad decides he wants to adopt your child. Well, one of the grounds where your rights can be terminated over your objection and in an adoption situation is if the other side can make a case that you have not maintained a significant relationship with your child.
Things like cards, Christmas gifts, birthday gifts. If you can prove you gave those to the child, that refutes that. Or at least if you can prove you tried. Again, this is why you want to create a paper trail. Make sure you buy it on the credit card, make sure when you ship it, you ship it in a way that comes with a tracking number where you can show it. Yeah, it really got there. If it got returned to sender, that leaves a paper trail. You want to hang on to that just in case because that can really save your bacon. If you’ll pardon the colloquialism.
My name is Brian L. Jackson, I am a Tulsa dads’ rights attorney, and we’ve been talking about leaving a paper trail. If you have further questions about this topic or need legal assistance with any other issue related to your rights as a father or related to your rights in general as a man, then you should go to dads.law and talk to us right away. We’d be happy to give you advice and help stand up for your rights as a father. Again, my name is Brian L. Jackson, and I am a Tulsa Father’s Rights attorney. Thank you very much.