How can I get money back that I lent to my then boyfriend?

UPDATED: Aug 28, 2011

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How can I get money back that I lent to my then boyfriend?

When I broke up with him in 3 months ago we sat down and figured out how he would pay me back ($3,000). His sister was there as well and she helped write it. He hasn’t paid me yet. I was going to go to small claims court because I believe I can win, and then I was going to get an earnings garnishment. After reading the papers on the earnings garnishment though I read something about him not having an earnings garnishment because he is below the poverty line and receiving food stamps. Right now he has a good job and is making money. So what do I do?

Asked on August 28, 2011 Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you think he has the income to pay a judgment in your favor--whether voluntarily (i.e. if you sue him and win, he'll pay) or by garnishment--and you think you can prove your case, then suing in small claims court makes sense. If there was an agreement to pay you and you can prove the agreement (either with a written agreement or with testimony) and also show that he hasn't paid, you may have a strong case. The garnishment rules mean that his salary can only be garnished to the extent his weekly earnings are more than, I think, 30 times minimum hourly wage (i.e. he makes at least as much as if he worked 30 hours at minimum wage). If he earns over that threshhold, you can garnish (depending on his exact salary and tax obligations) around 20 - 25% of his earnings.

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