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ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16867
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Can I sue my common law partner if weve lived together for

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Can I sue my common law partner if we've lived together for over 17 years and he's taken 60 thousand dollars in transfers from my bank account? I have bank statements providing evidence that I put away my own money and because he's now dating his ex-wife, he trying to tell me he doesn't owe me anything as a result.

ScottyMacEsq :

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ScottyMacEsq :

Have these transfers been over time, or all at one time?

ScottyMacEsq :

I see that you may have prematurely clicked "accept", but we can continue the question here.Have these transfers been over time, or all at one time?


They been collected over a period of time


He said at one time if anything happened between us that he would document that everything I saved was mine.


Now, he's destroyed our ledger.


Hello, Are you still there?

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It's important to know what has been collected when, and whether at the time collected it was with your consent or not...

Also, was it expressly a loan? If you sue, the court / jury will want to know why you're only bringing this up now, after your relationship dissolved. Do you have an explanation for that?
If you select the "refresh" button or click F5, you will be able to continue speaking with me in the Q&A section.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

The reason why I've decided to ask for the money now is because he's kicked me out of the house and has moved in his ex-wife, who left him 30 years ago for his best friend. He's telling he owes me nothing if I go to an attorney.

What was the intent at the times that he took the money out of your account? At those times, were they expressly loans / gifts (gratuitous conveyances) / etc...? Did you speak to him over the years about this, and did you come to an agreement as to whether it would be repaid, etc...?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I was paid off by Social Security because I worked and I received $30K to get on the SSDI program instead of being on SSI. I also worked full time and received overpayments, but evidently I couldn't continue since I got sick. I made $20K/year and put away portions of that money. I also took out $40K in student loans. Anytime I had money he had his hand out and asked me if he could hold it so that I could keep my SSDI. I have had intermittent part time jobs, three of them.
So, in essence, the money was taken by him with your consent (at the time) without any promise of repayment?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes. My final question is, "Should I get a Civil Attorney to sue for what he owes me?" I have found somebody, but he charges $400/hour and I could lose the case and owe money.
There are a couple issues here: first of all, any legal action that you would have against him would be based upon "conversion" (the civil side of theft) or his failure to repay a loan. Conversion has a statute of limitations of three years in California, meaning that you could really only sue on the money that he has taken in the past three years. Anything taken outside of those three years would be unreachable because of the statute of limitations. And there would be the problem of "consent", in that conversion requires a taking of property without your consent (at the time of the taking, regardless of your later feelings on the matter).

Failure to repay a loan would be a little better of a cause of action, because the statute of limitations start to run when he has to pay and does not. If you had an agreement that you would lend him this money, and he would pay you back at some other time, you could demand payment, and the statute of limitations would start running from your demand. For an oral contract, that would be 2 years from that moment of demand. But to win, you'd still have to prove that this was a loan, was always meant to be a loan (especially at the time that he took the money) and never meant to be gratuitous. He could always use the defense that it was gratuitous (a gift) and therefore he has no obligation to repay it. That's part of the problem and a weakness in your case.

Ultimately, if you can prove your case, that there was a loan, and that he has refused to pay it back, then you stand a good chance of winning. But if you can't prove those necessary elements, then you'll lose. And from an impartial viewpoint, it seems as though you're only seeking repayment because of his infidelity and indiscretion, rather than seeking repayment on a valid loan. Frankly that leans pretty strongly to the inference that it was gratuitous, rather than a loan.

If it were me, I would ask a few lawyers what they think of my case, and see if they'd take it on a contingency basis. Their answer as to the contingency aspect would give me a very good idea what they really think about the strength of the case. It also might make sense just suing for what you can in small claims court, without a lawyer, because that generally is more "equitable" (based on fairness rather than the law). But even then, I think there's a good chance that the justice would say that these payments were gifts rather than loans or thefts.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it's the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. I do with you the best of luck in this matter, and hope that you can move on from this person and get on with your life.
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