What to do if my girlfriend borrowed over $100,000 from me in the course of 4 years andshe won’t pay me back?

UPDATED: Dec 15, 2011

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What to do if my girlfriend borrowed over $100,000 from me in the course of 4 years andshe won’t pay me back?

She moved out of my home. I would like to recoup my money. How can I start a lawsuit?

Asked on December 15, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You don't start a lawsuit--your attorney does. Or rather: you certainly have a right to represent yourself in court, but an attorney will vastly increase your chance of winning; for $100,000, it is very well worth it to have an attorney pursue this money for you. (For $1,000, you'd represent yourself in small claims court; for $10,000, you probably should have a lawyer, but it's not entirely unreasonable to act as your own attorney; for $100k, you need a lawyer.)

Note that while loans are enforceable--the borrower has to repay the money per the terms--gifts may not be recovered. If you did not have agreements in place at the time of lending that these were loans, then under the circumstances (live-in girlfriend), they may be considered gifts--though this is something to discuss with your attorney.

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