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He can give you a written promise to pay on a cocktail napkin and it will be enforceable in a court so long as it includes: The parties, the date of the note, the amount owed, any interest charges (if there are none then simply either do not mention it or state "0"), the dates any payments are to be made, the date the note becomes due (payable in full), and the signature of the person making the note. You do not need any witnesses or a notary signature block on a note for it to be enforceable. If he fails to pay you can sue him in court and ask the court to garnish wages, bank accounts and put liens on property. You can pursue the matter in small claims court for up to $7,500 and you can get the paperwork on line and pursue the case without an attorney if you use small claims court -- so you might want to see if you can break the money that he owes you down into a few notes of around $7,000 each -- and so you can pursue the matters separately against him in small claims court if he does not pay each or all of the notes.
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