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Divorce settlement paid in pennies makes headlines

A woman’s choice of payment method for her $50 divorce settlement made headlines this week after her ex-husband posted a photo of the unusual settlement to a popular online message board. The photo shows three large plastic food containers filled with pennies, along with some rice and beans mixed in for good measure. An accompanying note expresses some lingering hard feelings and instructs the recipient to return the plastic containers to the store to redeem the remaining three dollars that were not paid in pennies.

Stories like this are comical and can offer something to discuss around the water cooler, but the truth is that the conduct in this case might not set the best example for Louisiana residents who are settling a divorce.

One major issues is that someone who is ordered to pay a divorce settlement must pay the entire amount in currency if that is the nature of the order. Here, the ex-wife paid a small portion of the settlement in goods (the plastic containers), which we can assume were not a specifically named asset in the settlement. Even though the ex-husband may be able to return them for cash at the store, this is still not a valid form of payment for the value of the containers.

In addition, leaving an angry note and mixing in the rice and beans to the pennies shows that the ex-wife still has some hard feelings and was attempting to be vengeful in a small way. While revenge may be satisfying, it could have a negative impact down the line during ongoing negotiations about child custody, for example.

Source: Daily Telegraph, “Wife ordered to pay ex-husband $50.12 in divorce settlement pays him in pennies,” Aug. 19, 2013.

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