Is there any legal action I can take against my ex-fiancefor a debt I incurred on his behalf?

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Is there any legal action I can take against my ex-fiancefor a debt I incurred on his behalf?

I was engaged and my fiance’s dog had to get an emergency procedure that ending up costing $3,000 in vet bills. I have good credit and my now ex-fiance doesn’t. He also had an outstanding balance from a previous vet bill (prior to our relationship that I was unaware of) that he never paid. Therefore he was ineligible to get approved for the credit card company through the vet office to take on this new vet bill. I was eligible to apply for it, so I did. Now, we have split and I asked him to pay off the remaining balance, and he refuses. He wants to continue paying min monthly payments on it.

Asked on July 22, 2011 California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is what was the understanding or agreement or terms *at the time* you made the payment? If when you paid it for him, the agreement then was that it was a loan, that agreement is enforceable as per its terms and you can require him to pay it. (Note: if it was an oral or verbal agreement that he'd repay, while it's still legally enforceable, it may be difficult to prove it in court if you sue him.) On the other hand, if at that time there was no expectation of repayment, then paying this money for him was a gift. If it was a gift at the time it was made, you may not ask for its repayment--or rather, you can "ask," but if he choose to not pay, he does not have to.

From what you write, it appears that the ex-boyfriend acknowledges that it was a loan; therefore, you can make him repay it, but *only* according to whatever the terms had been. So if, for example, he could, under the arrangment between the two of you, make minimum monthly payments, you can't force him to all of a sudden pay off the balance in full.


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