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Examining the Child Support Problems of Former NBA Player Jason Caffey

November 12, 2007 - Former University of Alabama star forward and Chicago Bulls champion Jason Caffey has filed bankruptcy to seek protection from his creditors, including seven women with whom he had eight children.

Caffey, who has been out of the NBA since last playing for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2002-2003 season, was sent to jail earlier this year in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for failure to pay child support.

Caffey also drew an arrest warrant from the state of Georgia for his child support problems last month; however, his lawyer has asked that the order be put aside until his bankruptcy is settled.

Caffey said that he has filed bankruptcy to "get these arrest warrants off me." Under bankruptcy law, creditors (which include the women seeking child support) are restrained from all collection efforts during the bankruptcy case. While there are some exceptions for child support collection, property that is considered part of the bankruptcy estate is temporarily protected. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, post-filing income is not considered a part of the bankruptcy case, but in a Chapter 13 filing, income received during the bankruptcy case is considered part of the bankruptcy estate.

At one point in his career, Caffey signed a $35 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. However, lawyers for Caffey say that his current monthly child support obligations do not accurately reflect what Caffey now earns.

A Press-Register story detailed records showing that Caffey now makes $11,500 per month-$7,000 of which goes to alimony and child support-from two businesses endeavors, a real-estate company and day-care facility that he's both invested money in.

While Caffey was paid millions of dollars years ago, Altman noted how Caffey only saw about $17 million from that big contract when considering taxes. Altman further elaborated that Caffey did not get $12 million of that $35 million contract because his client retired three years before the end of that deal.

Records from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Mobile reveal that Caffey has $1.5 million in assets as compared to $1.9 million in debts. Caffey lost his $800,000 Georgia home during his divorce with his wife last year and has said that his wife got half of his money after the divorce was finalized.

In addition to once being sued for divorce by his ex-wife, Caffey is being sued by more than several women for child support. The lawyer for Nikki Brown, a Louisiana woman seeking child support for two children fathered by Caffey, has called the former NBA player "the epitome of a deadbeat dad."

This lawyer, Clarence Roby, has also alleged that Caffey has not made a child support payment to his client since May of 2005, with Caffey's obligations to Brown allegedly now totaling up to $112,736.

Lawyers for other women have said that they are not opposed to Caffey's bankruptcy filing as it will free up more money for him to pay child support. Randy Kessler, a lawyer for Lorunda Brown (a Georgia woman who is also seeking child support from Caffey), has said that his client understands that the former NBA player does not make what he used to and is willing to work out a settlement.

However, Kessler charged Caffey with failing to discuss the matter in more detail. Altman has said that he would try to work out a settlement with Brown.

Other women with whom Caffey has had children have said that the former NBA player used to keep up with his child support while in the league. Nicole Fuller, an Illinois woman to whom Caffey owes $80,000 in child support, called the former ballplayer "a good father" in the story.

Nikki Brown said that Caffey always paid child support to her when he was in the league and even voluntarily set up $125,000 trust funds for both of their two children. Brown admitted that Caffey let her dip into the trust fund when she struggled after Hurricane Katrina.

With all of this considered, Caffey has asked that he be allowed to build his businesses, which he has invested $2.5 million in. Caffey has argued that his children would be better off in the long run for the "generational wealth" that will ensue if his businesses are allowed to grow.

While that may sound all fine and dandy in the long term, what about the here-and-now?

Simply put, Caffey finds himself in so much trouble today because of his lack of responsibility in the past.

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