How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118780
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Law Educator, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a former subcontractor that has been placed in the

Customer Question

I have a former subcontractor that has been placed in the Travis County Jail (Texas) since September 1, 2015. I had made a check out to him for work that he had done prior to incarceration in the amount of $200.00. However it was not cashed for a few weeks (unusual). Then I found out he was in jail. I placed a stop payment on the check so that it would not interfere with my bookkeeping.
His wife call a few weeks ago because he had finally endorsed the check over to her, but she was unable to cash the check because of the stop payment.
I offered to pay half now and half in a week (I am short on funds). However, she said she was going to take me to court and I would have to pay a fine plus some fee the bank charged her for the check. She said she was starting pre law school and knows the system.
My concern is that I am unsure that they are still married (know this thought mutual work contacts) and if I make the check out to her does that really mean HE is paid off? She is a little touched.
Please help, this is a small amount, just want to get it correct.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Actually, legally to stop payment on a check and then not make good on the whole check upon demand of the payee is considered issuing bad checks under Texas law and could subject you not only to damages in a civil suit, but the DA can actually pursue criminal misdemeanor charges against you for not making good on the check.

Legally, because you tried to find the contractor and it was odd the check was not cashed, you did have a legal right to suspect something may have happened to the check to initially stop payment. However, now upon notice from the payee/payee spouse that they are trying to cash the check, Texas law requires you to make good on the check. If you pay 1/2 this week and 1/2 next week, the she would have no legal action against you (pre law is like pre-K, she thinks she knows but does not now how much she does not know), as you had the right to stop payment initially you were not in bad faith in doing so.

Texas is a community property state, so she is entitled to collect the money if the husband was a sole proprietor and not a LLC or S corp or C corp. So paying her would be paying him off. On any check you write you make sure it is made out to him and notice on the memo what the payment is for. This way she can sign and cash it and your records show the reason for the payment. I would NOT make any check out to her, she did not do the work. Make it to him and if she has his PoA, she can endorse it and cash it. You do have to pay her whatever fee her bank charged her (usually $35) for the bounced check, so find out from her what that fee is to include it in your payment.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I really like the pre K comparison.

I am suppose to pay the her fee from the bank however can I ask her for proof of charges from the bank. In addition, I have paid tracking him down. $10.00 email account to jail. $ 10.00 collect call from him (from jail). $12.00 Western Union to get him the money (in jail). Can I deduct those payments from his check? Don't really want to be his wife is nuts!

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.

You cannot deduct those payments from his check (those are the costs of doing business, you owed him money), you need to make good on the check and ask her what the bank charge was. You can call the bank too and they will tell you what their bounced check fee is and you can verify that.