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PALM LATITUDES

The Family Way

June 28, 1992|Linda Harris

Deborah Hutchison, 39, had been divorced for two years when she finally got sick of making monthly phone calls to remind her ex-husband that she had put him through medical school, that he had agreed to repay her and that he was late--again. So she began sending professional-looking bills, complete with return envelopes. "I didn't want to talk to his new wife, and when I called the office, well, the doctor was always out," she says. He was shocked when he got the bills, but he paid up.

After that, Hutchison started a full-fledged business out of her Studio City home. BYX has now sold almost 1,000 $14.95 "Bill Your Ex" kits to ex-spouses from Juneau to Japan. The kit includes 13 payment coupons, invoices, past due notices and return envelopes. "We even have a space to record interest for late payments," says Hutchison. "It's very empowering."

The company's motto is "Stay cool, calm and collect." And it seems to work. "A daughter wrote me saying that 'This kit whipped my father into shape and so far he's been making steady payments.' "

Men haven't cornered the deadbeat market; quite a few of Hutchison's customers are ex-husbands. "One man wrote me that his ex-wife still calls him a bloodsucking woman-user, but now she sends him the alimony check on time."

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