Fathers and Finance: Jason Caffey

Foul on the Home Front

Dr. Phil is joined by Jason Caffey; Jim Altman, Jason's attorney of the last five years; and Randy Kessler, an attorney for one of the women who is suing Jason for $186,000 in past child support.

Dr. Phil comments that Jason has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in child support and asks him if he's paying the mothers of his children.

"I have been paying some money to the mothers. I can't afford to pay the amounts that have been set to be paid. Four thousand a month, I can't afford that," Jason says. He had his 10 children with eight different women.


"So they all want child support," Dr. Phil says.

[AD]"There are just about two or three of them whom I haven't settled with. The other kids I see quite often," he says. "They visit me. They spend time with their brothers and sisters, and we have a pretty good family thing going on."

"There are warrants out for your arrest for failure to pay court-ordered child support, right?" Dr. Phil asks.

"That's correct," Jason replies.

"In fact, I understood that you just got [to the studio] because you were detained at the airport last night," Dr. Phil says.

Jason confirms.

Randy joins the conversation. "Mr. Caffey says he's paying support, little as he can, but he has not given my client a penny since April 2008," he says. Turning to Jason, he continues, "She would not have sued you if you had you made partial payments. For years, you were making partial payments, and she never sued you. It was when you stopped cold turkey." He adds that Jason did not show up in court or for the deposition. "We're dying to talk to you about how to resolve this. She knows you don't make it anymore."

Dr. Phil asks Jim, "Why is he not showing up for scheduled hearings and depositions?"

[AD]"I think that a lot of men, and not just Jason, have tremendous fear of the court system, and it's very difficult to confront this," he says. "Making a $50, or $100, or $500 payment when you owe $4,000 isn't going to advance the cause of keeping you out of jail."

"As a lawyer, you've had to advise your client, ‘You don't want to blow a judge off. You don't want to say you're going to show up, pay $70,000, and then not even show up,'" Dr. Phil says.

Jim says he's had that conversation with Jason.

Jason shares his side of the story. "Randy is not really saying the facts in the case. He has used his ability as a lawyer to obstruct, and stay in between us, and form a wedge just for his own personal gain," he says.

"I have not been paid a penny in six years on this case. And when's the last time you made a payment to my client?" Randy asks Jason.

Jason says he paid for his child's school clothes, gave him Christmas presents and pays for the house where he lives with his mother.

"When's the last time you sent her a dollar?" Randy asks.

Jim responds. "She was collecting child support at the rate of thousands of dollars a month, and a lot of the women in Jason's life were collecting thousands of dollars for extended periods of time. Where did that money go? How much of that money was actually collected and set aside for the day that his career was going to end?" he asks.

Lis interrupts Jim. "We're talking about somebody who was making $5 million," she says.

"That career is over," Jim says.

"Have you thought of a savings account, maybe, when you knew that you had these kids coming?" Lis asks Jason.

[AD]"Some of these children have trust funds that were set up," Jim says, noting that almost one-third of one of the funds has been spent on bank fees.

"Now we blame the mean judges, and now we blame the mean banks, and now we blame the men who can't go into court. What about the women who have to take the men to court? It's not easy for them either," Lis says.

Jim points out that some of the mothers were paid thousands of dollars a month for years and now drive nice cars, but they set no money aside for their children.

Dr. Phil asks Jason, "Why do you have so many children?"

"I love kids. I come from a big family," he says. "That was my lifestyle at the time. I had a lot of lady friends, and they were in my life."

"A child is not a lifestyle; it's a decision. You have a child forever," Lis says.

"Were you intending to get these women pregnant?" Dr. Phil asks Jason.

"It was something we did together," he replies.


"This just isn't that hard," Dr. Phil says. "If your income is $5 million or six-figures, then you just simply go to the court, you produce your income information, your tax returns, and you say, ‘That's what I made then. This is what I make now,' and there are guidelines in most family courts, based on income, what child support will be awarded. So why not just simply go to court?" 


[AD]"We offered to reduce it from $4,200 down to $900 a month, without having to go through lawyers or pay any more legal costs or come back to Atlanta," Randy says, adding that Jason only wanted to pay $300 a month.

"The problem with $900 a month, at that time, with Jason Caffey in bankruptcy, is the confidence of knowing that a promise that can be made is a promise that can be kept," Jim says.

Dr. Phil reads a statement from Randy's client. "'I just ask that he help do whatever he can. We will make it with or without him, but he is our son's father, and I wish he would be more involved in our son's life. The financial support is secondary, but we could use the help,'" he reads. "This doesn't sound like a blood-in-her-eye vengeful woman."

Randy has an offer for Jason. "Right now, there's a pending order in Fulton County that says you are to be arrested if you step foot in Georgia, and you will not to be let out until you pay $186,000, and then you owe fees on top of that," he says. "If you can come up with some minor amount " $25,000 " that's five percent of it, she has authorized me to go to court and say, ‘Judge, we want the arrest order dispersed, gotten rid of for now so we can try to work out the rest.'" He adds that the woman has never wanted Jason to be arrested.

"Is that a reasonable offer?" Dr. Phil asks Jason.

[AD]"It's a reasonable offer, but at the same time, I speak with Lorunda quite often. That's [Randy's] attorney's fees that he's asking for. He's not really concerned with what's going on with the child," he says.

Randy is enraged. "I haven't gotten a penny from her. That's money for her, for your child," he says to Jason.

"We will seriously consider any offer that gets made," Jim says. "I need to know confidently that the $25,000 is going to be available to pay. Secondly, are you telling me that Lorunda will get all $25,000 of that money?"

"That's who it's for," Randy says.Dr. Phil ends the bickering between the lawyers. "These things don't get better by ignoring them," he says to Jason. "I just read a statement from the mother of one of your children, that seems to me to be inherently reasonable, and if you want to take the lawyers out of it, then you do need to negotiate something with her. But the truth is you made a lot of money for a long period of time." He reminds Jason that he chose to have 10 kids, so he must live with the consequences. "You've got 10 children out there, and you need to really facilitate your relationships with them," he says, "and then make realistic arrangements to contribute to their upbringing." He reiterates that the court will make arrangements according to his current income. "Somebody needs to step up and say, 'We're going to put the children first, here, and we're going to work out something that everybody can live with.'"

[AD]Dr. Phil suggests Jason, Jim and Randy go backstage and negotiate.

At the end of the show, Dr. Phil gives an update. "Jason, his attorney and the mother of one of his children's attorney have been backstage, and report that they have made significant progress on getting something done," he relates.