Can my ex-girlfriend sue for repayment of money used on bills we incurred while a couple?

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Can my ex-girlfriend sue for repayment of money used on bills we incurred while a couple?

I was involved with a woman for 5 years until last year. For about a year of that time I was unemployed and had minimal income. She paid a majority of the rent and bills. Due to many indiscretions on her part, we split up and she now wants me to repay her for rent, utility bills, groceries and so on for that time period. Of course throughout our relationship I picked up the slack many times never expecting to be re-compensated. Does she actually have ground to stand on and should I expect a judge to actually rule in her favor?

Asked on May 9, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It depends on what was the understanding or agreement at the time she made these payments on your behalf. If there was an agreement (including an oral one) AT THAT TIME that the monies she was paying were a loan that would be repaid, she may enforce that agreement. On the other hand, if at the time the payments were made, there was no expectation of repayment, she may not, after the fact, require you to repay them. A loan must be  loan at the time it was made.

So whether she can sue you, or if she sues you, prevail, will depend on what was the agreement at the time--and if you and she disagree about that, who is more credible. If there was a pattern that over the course of your relationship, you each would pay expenses for the other without an expectation of repayment, that would be good evidence that you do not need to repay her.


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