What legal action can I take if I borrowed more than $30,000 to my ex-girlfriend before we broke up and now she will not pay me back?

UPDATED: Jul 9, 2015

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What legal action can I take if I borrowed more than $30,000 to my ex-girlfriend before we broke up and now she will not pay me back?

She said she would pay my back in the future. After we broke up, I waited a year and asked her to pay my money back. However, she is not willing to pay me. Can I take any legal actions to get my money back?

Asked on July 9, 2015 under Business Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can sue her. When money is loaned (as opposed to being a gift), it must be returned when it was mutually agreed it would be repaid; if it is not repaid, you can sue her for breach of contract (violating the agreement to repay) to get your money back. Oral (i.e. not written) contracts are legally enforceable, but can be very difficult to prove--you have to prove the terms of the agreement, which can be difficult if there is no writing and only two witnesses, who disagree--and you also, in your state, have to show that the loan was supposed to repay you within one year (contracts requiring more than a year to be fulfilled must be writing in your state, under what is called the "statute of frauds"). So to win, you'd have to convince a court that you loaned her $30,000 (you can use a cancelled check, etc. to show you gave her the money), that the money was not a gift, that she had to repay within a year, and that she did not repay.

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