What happens during a divorce when abuse is present? How do you safeguard yourself and those you love during those tough times? Divorce can be an incredibly difficult experience, and it gets even more complicated when abuse is involved. With the help of Susan and Tracy in this episode, you’ll learn how to safeguard yourself or your loved ones during these tough times. Knowing the signs of various forms of abuse could prove vital for protecting both yourself and those around you from further harm.
What does it mean to “Show Cause?” More than that, what does it have to do with the legal process, why is it so important, and what does it have to do with divorces? Listen up as the ladies of Hightower Reff Law discuss in full what ‘show cause’ means, and what it is all about!
Tracy Hightower-Henne: On today’s podcast, we’re going to talk about show causes.
Susan Reff: What’s a show cause?
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Show me your cause. Hmm. Also known as contempt.
Susan Reff: Yeah, I like that better because it’s more descriptive. Like people are familiar with what the word contempt means.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, I think show cause is such a weird thing. Like procedurally, someone has to come to court and show cause. And I always picture like sword wielding
Susan Reff: Like would all show
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Your turn and then you’re like putting your shield up,
Susan Reff: Like pull out all your weapons
Tracy Hightower-Henne: In court. Don’t do that. That is not legal advice.
Susan Reff: I really like the sword thing. I think a lot of fights should be figured out with swords instead of in the courtroom.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Like real swords are plastic swords. Well, I mean, are we talking squid games? No, no, no, no, no. You haven’t watched good games yet.
Susan Reff: I have not watched squid games, but you know, like when they they talk about like this restorative justice stuff and some of it gets physical, you know, like you’re supposed to, you know, do something that like releases your anger.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, we could get the swords that, like, you know, push in when you do sword or balloons, whereas
Susan Reff: That clouds make
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Or the light up ones that like, come out.
Susan Reff: Yeah, that would be fun.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, but
Susan Reff: Real swords would be really cool, though
Tracy Hightower-Henne: We we went to this really fun event last night, right? For what was a fundraiser for.
Susan Reff: So we we know some, some people that work with Bellevue Housing Authority, and it might now be called Surbhi County Housing Authority. I think it’s kind of grown to encompass the whole county. But what they do is they assist people with housing needs. A lot of people coming out of like potentially incarceration, low income situations. Maybe, you know, change in life, like a divorce where they don’t have access to affordable housing and they put on a fundraising event every year. That’s kind of a gala in February. And what they do at this, the way they make their funds, is they auction off purses and then they put like a bottle of wine in the purse or, you know, a cute scarf or a gift card to somewhere. And they make these like little theme purse packages, but it’s called bags and swags. And so last night, they had kind of a pre event event at the Tory Burch store, the outlet.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Tory Burch Yeah, because Omaha does not have a real Tory Burch store.
Susan Reff: So. So they were they were collecting purses and donations for their event in February. And then also the Tory Burch store was donating some of the proceeds from purchases during this event. And so there’s like wine and charcuterie and fun conversation shoes.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, yeah, it was really fun.
Susan Reff: Yeah, and it’s really I mean, like, I think you and I have been to that event a few times and we’ve taken a few of the other attorneys and it’s very like pro woman and it supports women and, you know, helping women to transition from, you know, a tough place in life to a better place in life. So it’s all in all, just a good thing.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: You mean the purse and wine event is pro-women?
Susan Reff: The programs that the SRP County Housing Authority puts on his payroll
Tracy Hightower-Henne: And also the person mines.
Susan Reff: Yes, it’s very fun event that we go to. I mean, yeah, it’s mostly women at the event. There’s a few men that come, I think, as supporters.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: So we got a purse from the outlet store and we’re going to theme it up and put it in the auction. Yeah. And you know, like when we do those things, it’s kind of go big or go home like, we’re not going to do a shitty thing. So come to the event
Susan Reff: And we’re not going to do a shitty thing. We’re not going to do a shitty thing. I can’t believe you just had to even say it.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: No. So come to the event and then you can bid on the Hightower floppers. And I really like the purse. I’m probably going to be bidding on it myself. So, yeah, get your bids in.
Susan Reff: Yeah. And it’s fun, too, because those bidding events are fun to see, like, Oh, I got, if you really want one of the purses and you’re bidding, there’s some strategy
Tracy Hightower-Henne: And you got to just watch the
Susan Reff: Paper. She said that this year, instead of the paper, they might use an electronic app because the paper, you know, like, people cheat.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: No.
Susan Reff: Well, I think one year because I was unwilling to cheat, I got outbid on a person I really wanted,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, you got to cheat. If you want to win, I know it’s like life, right?
Susan Reff: No, fair. All right. So let’s talk about this show. Cause thing
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Slash contempt
Susan Reff: Slash by the sword. It’s a sword theme. Yeah.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Podcast today. So what? What is show cause?
Susan Reff: So a show cause action is any time that there is an existing court order that someone is not following. So the other side is going to say. You know, our decree says that I’m supposed to have parenting time every Wednesday night, and you refuse to let me have that time. I mean, that’s a very simple example.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Or so so the different types of things that we see for a potential show causes or contempt. So we’re using that phrase interchangeably. But then the different types of things that we see in a decree, our failure to pay something. So oftentimes parents are sharing out of pocket medical expenses for the kids child support, daycare payments, sometimes at the end of the divorce, there’s some money that needs to be shared back and forth to equalize debts and assets. And then those parenting plan things. And so the parenting plan things can be missed parenting time or what we call the fluffy language like.
Susan Reff: So in a lot of parenting plans, there’s language like both parents will work to the best of their ability to ensure the child’s educational needs are being met. What the heck does that mean? Yeah. Or the parents will. I mean, there’s some that’s a little more clear. Like the parents will agree. The parents agree that they will not talk about disparaging things, about the other parent to the child, or they will communicate in only a businesslike manner with each other.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: And I’ve had some parenting plans that go very deep into details, and oftentimes those are from modifications where you know, they’ve been divorce. The super generalized, fluffy language doesn’t work for them, clearly didn’t work for them, and they need more clarity. And so these parenting plans will say one parent can send an email and only one topic should be included in the email. And then the other parent needs to respond within 24 hours only on that topic. And if you want to change the topic, you need to send another email and keep it to one topic,
Susan Reff: And you need to put the topic in the subject line of the email.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: And then oftentimes those parents will. The ones that have those difficulties in communication will use an app for communication, and these apps apparently have some algorithm that recognizes jerk talk. Yes, and little. I haven’t used it. We should try it. Let’s try it,
Susan Reff: Get one and just test
Tracy Hightower-Henne: It. Yeah. So like if it said, if we’re co-parents, I would say, Susan, I can’t believe what you did yesterday. That was so awful. You’re a bad parent.
Susan Reff: It would red flag you. Yeah, it would
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Say you need to change your language.
Susan Reff: Yeah. So I think we had like a lunch and learn with one of them and and the person showed us on on screen what it would look like if you were the parent that said that and it would red flag. And then it underlines the phrases that and then it says, Are you sure you want to use this kind of like like, I think it’s still lets you send it.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: I would like to see like the red flag come up and then this big sword go you no slash it. You can’t say that
Susan Reff: Like it automatically. The app won’t work for five minutes.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, like time out when you forget your password. Time out you’re locked out of and I’m like, No, it’s just hang on. I know what it is now. Yes, OK, I’ll do it now. But some apps won’t actually let you even send with that language. You have to change it.
Susan Reff: Yeah. And I think their settings that you can, you can have it on to.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: So and the other part of the fluffy language is what we sometimes call the non-disparagement clauses. And that just means like you can’t be mean to the other parent, especially in front of the child or talk badly about the parent in front of the child.
Susan Reff: My favorite is when people have a disagreement, you know, like, Well, I want to buy Stevie these two hundred and fifty dollars snow boots, you know? And so we’re supposed to talk about it and see if we agree. And the other parents are like two hundred and fifty dollars for snow boots that they’re going to outgrow next year. That’s way too much. I don’t agree. And then the other parent is like, show cars because you were disparaging and it’s like, No, it was just a disagreement about snow boots
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Or the or you take it to the other extreme and the parent that won’t spend the two hundred and fifty dollars or share in the expense as your dad’s a cheap ass. And then they want to file a show cause on that.
Susan Reff: Yeah, but
Tracy Hightower-Henne: A lot of that stuff is hearsay, right? It comes from the kids. Hey, dad, mom called you a cheap ass.
Susan Reff: Yeah, yeah. And do we do you really want to like, have your kid be the reason you’re filing the show? Like the the crux? The main part? Yes. So the other thing to talk about with a contempt action is the person cannot be found in contempt if their action was not willful. Look, that I totally double negative and condemnation.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. That’s the sword language, willful lynch condemnation. What does that
Susan Reff: Mean? I’m going to Google it,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: But there’s a whole definition. It’s like awful or something, and then it’s spelled great c o n t u m. And there it is a cio. U.s. condemnation. Did I spell it correct?
Susan Reff: Yes. Yes. It says stubbornly or willfully disobedient to a authority
Tracy Hightower-Henne: O to the
Susan Reff: Court order. So like basically the definition of contemptuous is willful disobedience.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, there’s a lot of there’s extra ends in their condemnation. So if you just spell it out, there’s
Susan Reff: Only one KN.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, so I didn’t spell it right. I wasn’t
Susan Reff: Listening.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Is it OK? Spell it.
Susan Reff: C o n t u m a c
Tracy Hightower-Henne: I.o.u.s.a that there is another end after the m u you could come, and this
Susan Reff: Only lawyers use this word anyway. It’s it’s listed as archaic and a legal term.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, yeah, of course.
Susan Reff: So if the person isn’t willful and not in in their in their bad acting, they won’t be found in contempt. Right? Great. So and that’s like an out. The judge has used a lot when we actually have a court hearing.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. Judges do not like to hold people in contempt. They like to do whatever they can because part of holding someone in contempt is a punishment.
Susan Reff: Yeah.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: So procedure wise, we would have a client come to us and they would say have a court order. The other parent is not following X, Y and z of the court order. I want the judge to hold them in contempt.. Well, or they’ll say, I want to hold them in contempt, and we’re like, Well, you don’t get to do that. We got to ask the judge to hold them in contempt. Yeah. And at that point, we have the conversation with the client about, OK, should we be concerned about poking the bear? She would be concerned about opening the Pandora’s box and really, there’s an expense in a cost to this that might outweigh the benefits.
Susan Reff: So the poke the bear thing like be careful what you ask for. Yeah, sometimes people will call us and they’ll say, and this happens in situations maybe where people were not married and the one parent has kind of like disappeared a little bit and they didn’t get very much parenting time in the beginning. And then the other parent is like, Well, they never they never take their every other weekend. And it’s like. Ok.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Do you want them to?
Susan Reff: And I get it like it’s hard to plan your life if you don’t know whether that person is going to show up or not. But at some point you just continue to move on and live your life. And then it’s like, OK, well, do you want the judge to tell them you must take your parenting time every other weekend? Yeah. I don’t know, I mean, maybe in some cases, that’s what’s best for the kid. Don’t poke the bear. Yeah. So, you know,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: A show cause hearing is an actual hearing. So in our office, you know, we’re not going to go in there willy nilly. We’re preparing for the hearing. We’re having a hearing. We have to follow the rules of evidence. And so there’s that cost to a show cause proceeding that sometimes is not beneficial. Or if someone comes in and says, Hey, I’ve submitted my out-of-pocket medical expenses to the other parent and I’d like to ask that parent to be held in contempt because they’re not reimbursing their share. And it’s like four hundred dollars and we’re fifty dollars. Yeah, and it sucks. That sucks really bad. Yeah, but you know, we’re going to start with a retainer that’s more than that. And probably by the time maybe we get to court, maybe we have the reimbursement. Yeah. So let’s start with something else like, you know, a letter to them, or maybe you communicate with them or you decide you’re going to eat the four hundred dollars or fifty dollars,
Susan Reff: Put it, put it on paper somewhere. And then if it keeps happening, come back to us. That’s kind of the one I use a lot like keep a notebook of whatever is happening. And then once it gets to the point where you know, if it happens four numerous times or for a six month span, or if you hit $1000 and maybe out of pocket something like that, right?
Tracy Hightower-Henne: The one thing that we always hope in a show cause is if we are filing it against the co parent and they are truly willful and condemnations and their contempt, we are going to ask the court to order them to pay our attorney’s fees to or to reimburse our client for their payment of attorney’s fees. And not only do judges not want to find someone in contempt, they also don’t want to like further twist the sword in their chest and make them pay attorney’s fees. So while it makes sense if someone is doing something wrong, they would also have to pay the other person’s attorney’s fees. Judges are just pretty unwilling to do that because it adds that extra layer of punishment getting it.
Susan Reff: I mean, people talk about attorneys fees like it’s like pretty automatic,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: And it’s like getting candy on Halloween.
Susan Reff: Yeah, it I mean, here’s some free legal advice. Don’t expect to ever get attorneys fees no matter what.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Right? Like when we get them awarded, I’m like, Whoa, wow, that never happens.
Susan Reff: And and we’re asking like in some cases, like we’ll ask for like the full amount. Maybe it’s like two thousand five hundred dollars or five thousand dollars, and the judge is like two hundred dollars. Yeah, you’re like, Oh, yeah, and the other person is like, What the heck?
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. Two hundred. So the procedure is, you know, we file this affidavit. We asked the judge to give us a hearing date and then we have to serve the other person. We have to have them personally served with a the order to show cause. And it really is just a hearing. Yeah, the order to
Susan Reff: Show cause just says you need to show up on this date and show cause why I should not find you in contempt. We’ll
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Bring your
Susan Reff: Sword. Willful condemnation.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: We’re going to have a sword fight in court, but don’t really bring a sword to court.
Susan Reff: I don’t think they’d let you in.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: What about a plastic one?
Susan Reff: Well, you can’t even wear your belt through the metal detector,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: But plastic won’t go off in the metal detector,
Susan Reff: But they would see it.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: I mean, the one that scrunches down in your purse. Maybe let’s test it. We’ll get back to you.
Susan Reff: What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you at security, at the courthouse?
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, I will tell you, Douglas County is the best.
Susan Reff: Well, because we like know them. Yeah.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: So Sarebbe County has their shit tuned up. So I’ll go on the same day to Douglas County wearing the same exact thing. An hour later, I go through security and Serby county and they’re like, undress, basically. I mean, mostly, please take your shoes off and I’m like, Dude, I literally was just in Douglas County. I didn’t have to take my shoes off. And also, I’m probably wearing a skirt suit. You can see I’m wearing high heels, nothing. There’s nothing in there. I don’t have like a a knife taped to my leg. Yeah. So I think that’s the thing that pisses me off the most when I have to take my shoes off.
Susan Reff: One time I had a glass bottle like of, you know, like some drinks come in a glass bottle.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Coca-cola in Mexico,
Susan Reff: It wasn’t soda pop. I think it was like a Canadian, like a Snapple. I think it was Snapple, and I had it in my bag and they were like, This was a long time ago. They’re like, You can’t bring glass into the courthouse. And I’m like, I’m pretty sure the little snack shack right behind you sells Snapple. Stuffing, like I was like, seriously. So what’d you have to do? I had. Well, did you chug it? I think I just threw it away, I think it was like half I drank a lot of I don’t know, I don’t remember what I did, but I was like, Are you kidding? You can’t have like a glass bottle.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Can you imagine what jurors like? My husband has jury duty on Monday. Ooh, I need to find out if he has to go in Douglas County. He goes, I’m just not going to show up. And I was like, Dude, you have to show up. Also, like your wife is a lawyer. They’re going to call me, Where’s your husband?
Susan Reff: So here’s a funny story. The people that owned the house before us. We know they’re like best friends and the guy is a lawyer and he’s like your age. And his wife has refused to change her address. So we get all of this stuff for her. Like, we got to we got a food delivery box, like somebody came to our house, set it on our step and it was food for her with a card. We could see it was food and like they had made her a pie and all this stuff. Did you keep it? No. We called our other friend and said, Call your friend and tell him to get over here and get their food.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: I would have kept that. Well, in a second. So she would take a piece of pie out and like, wrap it back up and then put something in the note like, we really like this pie. So we kept a piece from the maker.
Susan Reff: But she keeps getting summoned to jury duty. Oh, and I keep writing on the outside of the envelope because the Post Office has told us, like, you’re supposed to write, that they don’t live there anymore and forward it to her new address. And I take a picture of it and I send it to my friend and I said she’s summoned to jury duty. And then like her assistant and then I get another one the next month and another one and I get her license renewal. Like this girl is like,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Why does she refuse?
Susan Reff: Well, my friends don’t have a very nice things to say about her. They like her husband, the attorney. So I’m just like, whatever. Ok, so going show up to jury duty.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, don’t bring a sword to that jury. You started bringing swords to security. Yeah. So you’re going to have the hearing and the judge is going to decide if you’re willful and condemnation. And then the judge is going to issue a purge order. So you sound so sorti
Susan Reff: If you are found in contempt, right? If the other side is, then the judge issues a purge order. Well, but
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok. So step back though, to the hearing. Sometimes you know, we’re filing the show cause against a party who decides they’re not going to hire a lawyer and they’re going to come to court. And oftentimes the judges will ask if they would like an attorney appointed to them. And the reason they have the ability or the option to have a court appointed attorney is because the ultimate ramification for show cause is jail time. Dun dun dun. And you cannot bring your sword to jail.
Susan Reff: There was a judge who used to say, like, if you come back in front of me, you better bring your jammies and your toothbrush. It’s like everybody knows you can’t bring your own pajamas,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Bring your own pillow
Susan Reff: To and and people would show up to court with like a bag of medicine, like they knew they were going to jail and they were like, I want to make sure I get my medicine and I’m like, They’re not going to let you take your own medicine at the jail was so
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Weird. I wonder what the security guards
Susan Reff: Thought of that. They just book it into their property
Tracy Hightower-Henne: With their coming into the courthouse.
Susan Reff: Oh yeah. They would be fun to have on like, what’s the weirdest thing anyone’s ever?
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, OK. Next guest speaker we’ll have Doug Doug. Welcome.
Susan Reff: Hi, guys. Yeah. Doug is our friend who’s a Douglas County sheriff.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Doug’s friends with me on Facebook. And so every time I go through security, he’s like, How was vacation? I’m like, How do you know that? Oh, yeah. Put it on Facebook. Ok, so so we’re going to have the hearing and the purge order. So obviously, if we’re filing the contempt, we’re asking the judge to hold the person, other person in contempt. And the interesting thing about the purge order is the the phrase comes from cleansing yourself of a contempt of a bad act. Also probably considered archaic purge.
Susan Reff: Well, the word you’re saying, purge. Let’s see what Purge
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Is, you know, a synonym of movie
Susan Reff: Like a scary movie
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Where you get like an hour to do whatever you want. Did you watch it? Yes. Did you know? So the
Susan Reff: Narrative, things like that, all the
Tracy Hightower-Henne: People that have done bad things, they get these like crazy security systems because people are going to come kill them.
Susan Reff: But what if you did nothing bad,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Then you might be the one out doing the purging?
Susan Reff: Hmm. Like how bad?
Tracy Hightower-Henne: How bad?
Susan Reff: What like if like, OK, if I said something bad about something, the
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Point of Purge is that you get this one hour a year, I think, and you get to do whatever you want and you’re never going to be charged. Is it
Susan Reff: Corey?
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes. And there’s more than one now. It’s like purging.
Susan Reff: It says series. Ok, so Google says Purge means an act or instance of ridding of what is unwanted.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Does it say OK? No. Hmm. So anyways, the historical meaning to this in the court system is your cleansing yourself of you have the ability to cleanse yourself of this contempt. So a judge is going to say, Susan, I hold you in contempt for being disparaging to your co-parent, and I’m going to purge you by not saying those things to the other parent. Ok, that’s a bad example. Susan, you’re in contempt of not paying your child support on time. So I’m going to sentence you to jail and you’re able to purge yourself of this by, you know, making your child support payments on time the next four months.
Susan Reff: The judge cannot actually sentence anyone to jail without giving them the keys to remove themselves. So here’s a funny one we’re purging themselves. Remember Judge Ashford? Yes, love Judge Ashford. This was our client was not doing what he was supposed to do. The court order said You have to take a drug test before your parenting time. Well, he didn’t want to take the drug test, so he wasn’t taking him. And for a while, he was getting parenting time and then she was kind of fed up with it. And she was like, You’re I’m going to file a contempt. So she filed a show cause and we went in and I was like, We don’t really have a defense because you didn’t take the drug test. And he’s like, I know, but I’m going to take my chances. So we go in front of the judge and the judge is like, I’m going to continue this here. He he heard all the evidence and then he goes, We’re going to come back in a week and you’re going to come in with drug tests and I want you to take one within twenty four hours. So he set out the schedule of drug tests.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: I think we were at this hearing together.
Susan Reff: So the guy comes back in and and he and the judge ordered him to take hair follicle test so it would look backwards to see if the guy had drugs in his system. Well, we come back in and the guy has zero hair shaved his head and the judge is the judge saw through all this and he goes, I’m going to hold you in jail until your hair grows out. And then I’m going to order a drug test. And I said, Judge, you can’t do that because that, first of all, that’s a conditional purge plan. Like maybe his hair won’t grow long enough, you know, for a drug test, I don’t know. And then I said, plus there’s. No one that’s going to go into the jail and do a hair follicle drug test on him, and the judge was like, You’re right. And so he’s like, Fine, I’m just going to say he can’t have parenting time until he does a drug test.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Was that the same case that the judge also said, Well, there’s other areas of the body where you can get hair? Yep. And then they he the guy said, I don’t have hair anywhere. Yep.
Susan Reff: Yeah. And then I knew this, but I didn’t offer this to the judge that they can do drug tests on your fingernails and they will cut pretty low down because they do that with babies like after they’re born, when a newborn baby is born. They have really long fingernails and they’ll drug test babies.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: That was also our client that when we were meeting with him, he had big pupils every time. Yeah, yeah.
Susan Reff: So the Purge plan and the Purge plan has to be somewhat related to the bad thing the person did. It’s like it’s supposed to fix the bad thing, right? So like, if someone didn’t get parenting time, they would get makeup, parenting time. If someone didn’t pay the other side, we get have to pay it within a certain amount of time. Right.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: So so I think the biggest part about a show cause contempt action is it has to start with good language in the court order. So if someone is coming to us with a decree that doesn’t have clarity, so for example, we actually have a case right now where there’s a court order that says the defendant has to pay off the Menards credit card and the decree, or this court order doesn’t say by when. And so the Menards credit card hasn’t been paid off, and it’s been more than six months, for example. And so we are asking the court to hold this person in contempt, and we’re going in a little bit under the assumption that the court might find it reasonable. This would have been done within the last six months. So I think the biggest, most important thing is, especially as lawyers, is to have, you know, a date by when more clarity so you can set up for a successful show cause yeah.
Susan Reff: How is the credit card going to be paid? Is it going to be paid directly to? I mean, I think that’s. A little bit of an elementary example, but sometimes when it’s a payment being made, how
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Right, what what is the balance? Is it going to be a changing balance?
Susan Reff: What if the persons use the Menards credit card since they got divorced?
Tracy Hightower-Henne: What if they got the 11 percent off rebate? Does that apply to? They’re going to get money back? That would be a good thing. You go to Menards, you charge two thousand five hundred dollars, you get the 11 percent rebate, you get that gift certificate.
Susan Reff: Oh, Tracy,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: That’s good one. I know I’m pretty smart, sometimes mostly on Fridays
Susan Reff: During the podcast recording. Yeah, I do my best lawyering during podcast recordings.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, call me right after,
Susan Reff: But not on a Friday.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Nah.
Susan Reff: So I think one takeaway is contents can be super messy like and they shouldn’t be just like you use the term willy nilly. Like, we shouldn’t just be filing them unless we have good evidence.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, there’s some other avenues that we can take to try and work with the other person and try and keep the cost down. Because the other thing about show cause is, which can be good and bad is that we get a hearing right away. You know, it’s not like a divorce trial where we’re waiting 10 to 12 months down the road for a hearing, right? We may get a hearing within two weeks and you better have your ducks in a row,
Susan Reff: Quack sword, sharpen
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Your ducks and your sword. And you know, I think I think the ones that are really the hardest are the well. Also, if you think about when parents have joint legal custody, they’re also sharing all expenses. They’re sharing extracurricular activity expenses, they’re sharing school lunch expenses, they’re sharing clothing expenses, and it’s on them to figure out a way to organize those expenses in some sort of spreadsheet. And if they don’t have that organized.
Susan Reff: Remember the one where he, the dad, had custody and he wanted mom to reimburse him for his annual zoo membership? His when he would throw a birthday party for the kids, he would keep track of like the paper plates like he would be like, Oh, I took him to skate days for a birthday party. Yeah. And the judge was like, No, those are not expenses included. And he. And it started out at like six thousand five hundred dollars, and by the end it was like eight hundred dollars.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. Yes, I remember that. My gosh. And you know, we’ve started putting language in the decrees that say if it’s something over one hundred dollars, they have to agree. Otherwise, they’re not going to have to split the expense because joint custody just creates a lot of sharing of expenses. And so you can have one. Parent playing that game and buying the $200 pair of jeans every time
Susan Reff: Just to get the other person to have to spend money,
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, and I think, you know, in our office, if you call us, we’re we’re not really interested in those games that are being played. And because we know the judges aren’t and the judges see right through that, you think you’re being smart willy nilly, cute, you think you’ve got your ducks in a row,
Susan Reff: You’re doing something we’ve never seen before.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, this is not our first rodeo with ducks and swords.
Susan Reff: Yeah. So bottom line, a good decree should help alleviate future show causes and then not being an asshole should also help alleviate future show causes.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Don’t be a contentious asshole. So also, like most information we’re going to give you, is have a consultation with an attorney to and and talk through like, Are you poking the bear? You opening that Pandora’s box for, you know, not that much money and a good attorney can help put together a plan or a strategy of like what it looks like if you wait maybe another two months or three months or another five hundred dollars of expenses to make it more successful. So.
Susan Reff: So in the meantime, just sharpen your sword. Get ready.
Tracy Hightower-Henne: Don’t bring it to court. Please at
Susan Reff: Home only. Yeah. Ok. See you next time.
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