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New to this - to file in Small Claims Court

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  • New to this - to file in Small Claims Court

    Hello BKForum community,

    I was visiting this site, decided to do a post and would appreciate feedback. I am not sure if my post is under the right category though. Here is the situation: Is it worth taking my ex (my ex and I never married) to Small Claims court for him to compensate me back with some funds for being dragged through the financial mess having my credit being overextended after supporting him and his daughter when he did not have a full time job (he had a full time job at the time we bought the house together, but he did not like his job and did things on purpose to be fired from his job and then landed a part time job almost 6 months later)? I ended my relationship with him last year after the way he has treated towards me (me asking him to please get a second job so to help me out, etc). Then when I left him, with our house he took his time deciding what to do about the house and decided we needed to sell - groans. We finally sold our house last spring and received very little sale proceeds from the sale of the house. It was very difficult making house and apartment payments on my behalf that my credit has even been more overextended (taking out loans) when I first left him (in Dec of last year). My ex has threatened me to foreclose on the house and I did not want that to happen so I took out loans just to make my share of the house payments and also my apt payments. I refused to ask family members for help because I knew they had their own things to take care of with their families.

    Bottom line is that I met with a bankruptcy lawyer recently and he went over all of my finances and said I would be able to avert filing for bankruptcy and create a snowball effect paying off my credit one by one if I am able to get two loans paid off right away (total of $4K) that I took out while dealing with my ex and the house and living in my apartment. My ex and I have one joint account in our names for the financing of the HVAC/AC install in our house (installed in 2015) with a remaining balance of $3K. Thinking to do the right thing, I informed my ex that I met with a bankruptcy lawyer and may have to file Chapter 13 (not 7)after what he has put me through and that the joint account would be affected. Well I found out last night he asked his dad for funds to take care of the joint account and I got into an argument with him stating this was not fair he would take care of the joint account just to protect his credit and let me have my credit be ruined all because I simply supported him the past several years and then trying to get the house sold, etc after I left him!

    Is taking him to Small Claims court worth it? I am very close to averting bankruptcy but if it happens then it happens and I will probably end up being a regular visitor on this forum as I cry through cups of coffee and wine (in the evenings only). Hope my post is clear enough and makes sense because I am blubbering as I post this.

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Welcome to BKforum!

    I am not sure what claim you would have against him in small claims court. The division of debts and assets should have been dealt with in the divorce proceedings. Has he failed to comply with the terms of your divorce? If so, I believe your recourse is in family court.

    I doubt he can be held liable for you incurring debt and filing BK, even if you incurred debt to resolve problems created by him. Taking loans to make a house payment you apparently couldn't afford was your decision.

    It sounds like the attorney you met with doesn't think you should file BK. If your ex pays off the joint debt, that puts you one step closer to avoiding BK. I think you should focus your energy on deciding whether you need to file BK. You may want to consult with another attorney. Also, if you share the details of your current income, debt and assets, we can help provide some perspective.

    You left your ex physically. The next step is to leave him and your relationship behind emotionally. Unless he has violated the terms of the divorce, let him pay whatever he will pay and try to move on with your life.
    LadyInTheRed is in the black!
    Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
    $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


    • #3
      Hi LadyInTheRed,

      Thank you for your post!. To clarify as mentioned from my post, my ex and I never married. We bought a house together after he asked me back together again and to buy a place together. Biggest mistake ever of my life. Cost me dearly, too. He threatened foreclosure on the house which prompted me to take out additional loans just to make ends meet for both house and apartment expenses and on top of that home repairs in order to get the house 'saleable'. The way he took advantage of me financially after losing his job on purpose (he did not want to work) said horrible things about my cats (I had two) and the list goes on which led me to be in this financial and emotional position. I did not want to take out additional loans but I had no choice and I could not ask my family for help. Which is why I had wondered about taking him to Small Claims court for him to compensate me back with some funds for taking care of him and his daughter despite his selfish behavior (not wanting to work, etc)

      After checking some more about Small Claims courts, it may not be worth the stress and not in my favor after all to take him to court because we did not have anything in writing legally binding regarding finances. I suppose I will go back to meet with my attorney and start filing for Chapter 13. Even if my ex took care of that joint account which he is doing just to protect his credit, I still would be struggling to make payments until the two loans that I took out would be paid off and then the snowballing payments of each card account begins. By then it would be too late in the game and I would have to file bankruptcy to avoid court summons, etc.

      You asked about my income, debt and assets - here is the info

      Income is 75K
      Assets - one car loan which is almost paid off about 1500 left
      No mortgage
      debt - 58K in unsecured credit and installment loans (Lending Club and Prosper)
      student loan for my oldest which is about $27K and that is not dischargable in a bankruptcy.

      And yes absolutely I am moving on with my life without this twat. I apologize, but it is so frustrating and upsetting to be in this position

      If any one else on this forum have insight about Small Claims courts and any other advice about my situation, I would appreciate your responses. Otherwise I definitely will be visiting this forum and learning more about Chapter 13 and other topics.


      • #4
        Sorry, I missed the important detail of you not ever being married as well as some of the other details. I must have been tired when I read your post!

        You have nothing to apologize for.

        If you owned half the house and paid more than half the mortgage payments, but only got half of the sale proceeds, you may have a claim against him for his part of the mortgage payments, even if you don't have a written contract, if you can prove you made the payments. It might be worth a shot.

        A good rule of thumb is that if you can't get the unsecured dischargeable debt paid off in 5 years, Chap 13 is a good option.
        LadyInTheRed is in the black!
        Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
        $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


        • #5
          Hi LadyInTheRed,

          Thanks - I did inform my ex and copied his father in an email (my ex contacts his father on every single problem even though he is almost 50 years old!) that after going through a lot of thought about taking him to Small Claims court, I am letting that go. They have not acknowledged my email. My sister said they have been behaving like *******s. So I don't think I will get a dime out of him or his father - he did give his son funds to help close the joint account so to protect his credit and let my credit be ruined

          I don't think I can get my unsecured debt that are deemed as dichargable paid off within 5 years.. Cash flow problems and collections starting to knock at my door now. For example both Lending Club and Prosper loans totaling $922 a month and I cannot afford that on my salary alone. So Chapter 13 it is.


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