Wht to do if my wife and I are soon to divorce and her father paid for my down payment on my truck a year ago out of generosity but now wants repayment?

There was no contract or agreement between us. Now that I’m divorcing his daughter he’s going to take me to small claims court because he thinks I owe him. Will I have to pay that money to him?

Asked on January 22, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Arkansas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If it was a gift and there was no expectation or repayment, then your father in law is stuck.  Since he is the plaintiff, it is his burden of proof to show that an agreement existed that was mutually agreed upon by both parties.  The fact that he has never asked or required a single payment in the time span of a year is evidence in your favor that the down payment was a gift, not a loan. 

Keep in mind, however, that just because you have a defense doesn't mean that he won't try to file the suit.  Make sure that you file a response.  Have your family law attorney help you draft a response, and if possible, represent you.  This appears to be a suit brought out of bad faith, so you should be able to counter sue for the attorney's fees associated with defending yourself against this suit. 


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