If I let someone borrow $3000 but did not indicate the breakdown of the cumulative sum of $3000 within contract, is contract still valid?

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If I let someone borrow $3000 but did not indicate the breakdown of the cumulative sum of $3000 within contract, is contract still valid?

In case relevant, the sum of $3000 was a random amount my ex-girlfriend and I came up with. It was based on the mortgage payments that I paid, plus most bills, for a year straight. Yes, the informal loans were due to her lack of financial help and way exceed $3000, but that’s probably irrelevant. Do I need to present receipts when I go to small claims or is the contract alone good enough?

Asked on February 21, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there is a contract, agreement, or promissory note under which your ex-girlfiend owes you a sum of money, as long as its a valid agreement (see below), it's enforceable even without the back-up. After all, two parties can agree between themselves that one will loan or pay the other any amount.

To be valid though, there must have been "consideration" for the obligation to repay. That means the agreement to repay must have been formed *before* the money was provided to your girlfriend. If you gave her the money without first having an agreement that she will repay some sum to you, then she may be able to successfully claim that the money was a gift, in which case she is under no obligation to repay. You can't after-the-fact impose an obligation; it must have been assumed from the beginning, or at least before getting something additional of value.


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