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Yes, you can deduct it as nonbusiness bad debt, up to 3K per year for the next few years. It is not a credit so do not expect 3k refund but depending on your tax bracket you can recoup between 10 - 40%.
It means that you will not get the entire 20K back. A $3,000 deduction will increase your refund (or reduce your taxes) by $300 - $1200 depending on your tax bracket. In 10% a 3K deduction will increase your taxes by $300. In the highest 40% tax bracket, a 3k deduction will increase your refund by $1,200.
Most people are in 10 - 25% tax bracket.
The IRS does not interfere with legal disputes. A nonbusiness bad debt can be deducted the way as investment loss, up to 3K per year and you can carryforward the remaining balance to the future years, meaning, next year you can deduct again up to 3k. For tax purposes it does not make any difference where the debt originated or who can or cannot pay. This is a case for an family lawyer.
Approximately $990, depending if you have other investment losses and or gains.
Without preparing your tax return I cannot give you an exact number. If you have other capital losses for instance or most of your income comes from investment, the refund my be different as if most of your income is from job or self-employment and you have no capital investment. The 3K will reduce your AGI and consequently reduce other deduction that are subject to AGI limits. I have no way of knowing.
An finally there's the AMT - alternative minimum tax. I do not know if the deduction will not be eliminated by AMT.
Idealy, 3K deduction in 33% tax bracket would generate additional refund of $990. But we do not live in an ideal world and taxes are not always fair.
If you have more questions I am going to opt out. I answered your original question and need to go to work now.