Will former NBA bad boy go to jail for failing to pay child support?

Most people know former NBA great Dennis Rodman for his patented brand of hard-nosed basketball, his flamboyant personality and his legal troubles off the basketball court. In fact, it is this latter topic that often earned him the most headlines. Now, Rodman is once again making headlines both here in Texas, and across the U.S. The reason? His ex-wife is suing him for failing to pay both spousal support and child support.

According to court documents filed in Orange County, California, by Michelle Rodman — his third wife — Rodman owes exactly $808,935 in back child support for his 9- and 10- year old children, and $51,441 in back spousal support.

In fact, Rodman was recently ordered by an Orange County Commissioner to come up with the $808,376 in arrears by May 29, or face the possibility of serving a 20-day jail sentence for contempt of court.

Interestingly, Rodman’s attorneys are claiming in court documents that he is virtually broke, still dealing with tax problems, unable to cover his attorney fees and suffering from a crippling addiction to alcohol that has severely diminished his marketability/ability to earn.

“In all honesty, Dennis, although a very sweet person, is an alcoholic,” said Linnea Willis, Rodman’s attorney. “His sickness impacts his ability to get work. This case, especially his wife filling for divorce, has put him on a binge that I have never seen before … He is often unable to obtain work because of this sickness. And his sickness is getting increasingly worse.”

Michelle Rodman’s attorney, Jack Kayajanian, has disputed Rodman’s claims of financial hardship, claiming that the former star frequently flies to Europe to host paying gigs at various nightclubs and that his recent induction into the NBA Hall of Fame has resulted in lucrative business opportunities.

While it remains to be seen if Rodman — who now lives in Florida — will be able to come up with the money by the May deadline, he and his ex-wife appear to be on surprisingly good terms.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child support or post-divorce issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Los Angeles Times, “Dennis Rodman could face jail over child and spousal support” March 28, 2012

The Daily Pilot, “Dennis Rodman faces jail time in O.C. court case” March 26, 2012