What to do if my parents loaned my husband and I a large sum of money over a several year span and he doesn’t pay it back?

The money came to us via wires and into either our personal account or one of 2 business accounts. Problem is both businesses underwent bankruptcy. We repaid only a very small portion and it came from a variety of sources, personal and business. My soon-to-be ex husband currently has a new business that is not making enough to cover expenses let alone begin paying back debt. If he refuses to pay once he starts making money, will my parents able to sue him personally for the money loaned without a promissory note? If he started to repay but didn’t finish, does it demonstrate a pattern of desiring to satisfy the debt and they have legal grounds to stand on?

Asked on October 29, 2013 under Business Law, Colorado


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your parents can sue over money they loaned someone without having a promissory note, although it makes it more difficult to prove how much was loaned, or even that the money was a loan and not a gift.  This is made even more difficult by the fact that the money was given to both your husband and you.  Your husband may also argue that the money was an investment in your businesses, which initially reaped some rewards, but then failed.  Your husband will no doubt drag you into the case as a true party at fault.  Also, they should keep in mind that the statutes of limitations on breach of an oral contract is typically much shorter than for breach of a written contract, and the breach will have occurred upon the first missed payment.

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