What to do if my husband had an online love affair with an old girlfriend and gave her $5,000?

He has broken off the affair but admitted to lending her money for her son as a down payment on a house. No papers were drawn up on this loan and he told her to pay it back when she got it. It’s been 8 months and no money. We live in one state and she lives in another. Is there any way to get this money back from her legally? He withdrew the money from our joint savings account without my knowledge.

Asked on January 16, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

An oral or verbal (i.e. not written) loan agreement is enforceable, so if she agreed to repay the money, you could in theory sue her to recover it. However, you will have to significant problems:

1) If it was given to an old girlfriend, there is no evidence of a loan (i.e. no paperwork, promissory note, etc.) and if she testifies that it was a gift, you may be unable to prove it was in fact a loan and not a gift. Since gifts may not be recovered--that is, once given, you cannot get them back--you may be unable to prove that you are entitled to recover this money.

2) It is always more difficult and expensive to sue across state lines than an in-state person.


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