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


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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.