Do Not Owe The Ex Money
Video Transcribed: If you haven’t figured this out by now, owing your ex-money is like owing the mafia money. It’s really bad news. My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a father’s rights lawyer in Tulsa with dads.law. And I’m going to talk to you guys about owing debts to your ex, specifically alimony, child support, and attorney’s fees.
And the reason I talk about these is these are a couple of examples of judgment debts that come out that fall outside of Oklahoma’s usual prohibitions on debtor’s prison. Debtor’s prison is an old concept that you can’t pay and go to jail if you owe money.
Now, for the most part, that’s constitutionally prohibited in Oklahoma. Most creditors cannot have you jailed for not paying them when you owe them money, even if there’s a judgment against you. The exceptions are criminal fines, which we’ll talk about.
That one probably seems pretty obvious to you guys, but we can talk about that in a future video. Alimony, child support, and property division are other exceptions where you can be jailed for not paying, which is why I’d say owing your ex money is like owing money to the mafia.
Because if she wants to be a jerk, she can try to put you in jail for that stuff. And I’ll tell you, in Tulsa County, you owe child support, alimony, attorneys fees to her… by the way, that’s another one that’s an exception… then you can and will be jailed if you don’t take care of that. And it’s important to know that you often run into situations where somebody will offer to let you pay it out. And it sounds like a great deal. Well, I just have to make these payments.
Okay, that sounds great, especially if it’s a big judgment and you don’t have it on hand. Say you owe five grand in arrearages and don’t have five grand sitting around just to pay that. So you get on a payment plan. Sounds like a great deal.
Be careful because here’s the question you should be asking yourself. What happens if I miss a payment? And the answer is she’s going to file contempt on you. And you are going to wind up having to deal with that.
And one of the consequences of contempt is jail up to six months in county and on child support in particular, and alimony, you go up on the rocket docket, which got that nickname because you can go to specialty enforcement docket for child support and alimony. And you can go from being served to being sentenced to 90 days on that docket. So you don’t want to be there.
So my advice to clients is generally a good practice, although I’m going to couch this because this is not meant for legal advice in this context. This is just informational. But one thing to consider… and talk to a good lawyer before you go do this… take a personal loan and pay that debt off… because it’s usually a better idea to owe money to almost anyone else, even if it’s a payday loan or a credit card with really high interest, it’s better to owe them money than owe your ex money. Because here’s the thing.
Let’s say that you lose your job six months down the road, and now you can’t pay. They may sue you if you don’t pay the credit card company. Payday loan places will sue you. That’s pretty much what they do.
They’ll sue you. But the worst they could do to you is make you show up for an asset hearing, which is annoying, but it’s just that. It’s annoying. Or they can garnish you, and getting garnished sucks, but it’s better than jail. It’s considerably better than jail. So consider that as an option. Don’t get on payments. Pay her a lump sum if you can do it.
The other reason that can be bad is this is another scenario I’ve seen come up several times, and it’s done tactically for a reason. And it’s something to be aware of, is let’s say that you and your ex get crosswise about your kid. The circumstances become such that you decide that you must sue her for custody or she’s not letting you have visitation, so you file a motion to enforce contempt or some other issue that must be taken up with the court.
I’ve seen that women will come up with… they’ll come up with these child support debts and say, “Hey, you owe me money.” And then they file it on the rocket docket. So what ends up happening to the guy is you spend all your financial resources defending the contempt on the rocket docket so much that you aren’t in a position to litigate the underlying custody issue.
And I’m telling you, it’s done tactically. So this is another reason not to owe her money. Pay that nonsense off. Even if you have to take a personal loan, pay it off because you don’t want to give her that kind of leverage on you.
You don’t want that threat hanging over your head that you could be imprisoned for not paying. So seriously, take care of that. Don’t pay it out if you don’t have to. If you can get a loan, do it. Pay her cash because you’re better off owing almost anybody else money.
And if you are in a situation where you owe your ex money, this video is only intended informationally. If you have questions about any of that, if you ever need a Tulsa child support lawyer or a Dads’ Child Custody Lawyer in Tulsa, Ok, you can find one at Dads.Law.