Dennis Rodman: Deadbeat Dad or Victim of Family Court?

Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Dennis Rodman has always been a “bad boy”, he of the pink hair, the garish tattoos and the multiple rings. Yes, he has five NBA championship rings, but I’m referring to his nose, ear, eyebrow and lip rings.

With his basketball career long over and his retirement from the wrestling circuit, his employment opportunities are limited to personal appearances and product endorsements. He has also picked up some pocket change in recent years from shows like The Mole, Celebrity Rehab and Celebrity Apprentice, and of late, coached a topless women’s basketball team for a New York strip club.

His multi-million dollar paycheques have gone the way of the dodo bird and he says he is broke. Unfortunately, it is alleged he owes Michelle Rodman, his third wife, from whom he has been separated since 2004, over $800,000 in child support for Dennis, ten years old, and Trinity, age twelve. At first blush you may see Rodman as a deadbeat dad, but hold on there. Things are not always as they first seem.

In Rodman’s case a California judge in 2010 made a child support order of $50,000 per month, apparently relying on his wife’s lawyer’s arguments about how much he earned. It appears that Rodman was not at the hearing. Rodman’s lawyers advised the Court they intended to challenge the child support order, but dropped the ball and missed the filing deadline. Hence, the $800,000 bill which at $50,000 a month is for about 15 months of child support.

In December 2011, the $50,000 order was decreased to a payment of $4500 per month. His lawyer says he is up to date with his current payments.

However, Ms. Rodman has already successfully sued the Worm for contempt of court in relation to the unpaid support and in May 2012 he was sentenced to three years probation and 104 hours of community service.

Later in May, Ms. Rodman alleged that her ex-husband showed up at her California home drunk and abusive. She obtained a temporary restraining order on May 30, 2012, barring him from contact with her or their children. Rodman’s lawyer maintains that anybody can show up in court and allege abuse to readily obtain a temporary restraining order.

As a result on June 22, 2012, the Court ordered that his access to the children would be supervised by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy and that he would be permitted telephone access so long as he provided his children with pre-paid cell phones.

Has Rodman’s luck changed since then? Apparently not, as his latest lawyer told the Court this week that she misunderstood that the matter of the significant arrears of support was to be argued that day. She wasn’t ready to proceed. The Judge grudgingly adjourned the hearing to October 2012 amid Michelle Rodman’s protests that the children have no medical coverage and she has no car.

Reports of Rodman’s income vary according to the source. A lawyer acting for him said his annual income was $150,000 and that most of it went to pay back taxes. His agent has reportedly said that he earns between $500,000 to a million dollars a year.

But there’s more. It seems another ex-girlfriend from Florida recently claimed that he owed her $179,000 for the support of their child. After a warrant for his arrest was issued, he settled that case in April 2012 agreeing to pay $5000 immediately and ongoing monthly instalment payments to pay off his debt.

He is also liable for a default judgment obtained by a waitress in Las Vegas who sued him for sexual assault. Rodman allegedly slapped her on her buttocks as she walked by, and in the absence of any defence for Rodman, she was awarded the sum of $225,000.

I have a tip for her. Get behind the line-up of creditors and be prepared to wait a long time.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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