What can be done to get a money paid back if there was only an oral agreement?

My mother has been romantically involved with a man for about 10 years now, never gotten married or lived together, and they have been off and on. He recently changed his number, and cut off all ties with her and is getting back with one of his ex-wives. So in light of this she is scared to never get money she lent him back. Money was lent to him at different times in big sums of money, and in total has been about $11,000 and he has only repaid about $3,000. She doesn’t know if she should take legal action now to get that money back because she has no written proof.

Asked on July 23, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A loan made on an oral agreement may be enforced as a matter of law, though obviously, it can be very difficult to prove the terms of the loan, or even that it was a loan and not a gift (as is common between romantic partners). So  legally, your mother could attempt to sue to recover her money, but if there is no proof that these amounts were loans, she might not prevail. Also, she would have to contend with the statute of limitations, or time period for bringing a lawsuit, which is typically shorter for oral agreements than written contracts. Depending on when she made these loans, it may be too late to sue.


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