Legal action on family members?


#1

just having another dilemma (my life has way too much drama lately). can my husband and I go after money owed to us from a family member who stiffed us on rent and damages to our property? she no longer lives here and there is alot of tension there. the whole family is kind of split over it, with some caught in the middle... I dont feel like I should let it go. but I don't feel it's really charitable of us to go after family either... any suggestions?

as always THANKS! :o


#2

How much money is involved? How wealthy are you? If it’s not a lot of money, or if you are so wealthy that it doesn’t matter, I would let it go.

On the other hand, if it is money you need, I would pursue it.


#3

does he have a written contract that gives him a legal basis to sue her perhaps in small claims court? does he care how this action will affect his relationship with her and the rest of the family and is he willing to accept the consquences? is the amount of money significant in representing a real financial hardship? is he considering this as good business practice in reference to his rental business, not out of bitterness, resentment or other motives? then he should proceed.


#4

*Money and family...hardly ever mix well. If you don't need the money...I probably wouldn't pursue it. And I say this, not because I don't believe in justice, because I do--but there is that passage of the Bible, where Jesus tells His followers to work out their differences with their brother before going to court...I can't find the passage, but this might be one of those times, where maybe you could discuss an arrangement where she pays you back monthly...a smaller amount...? But, if you don't need the $, I might let it go...and never ever do ''business'' with family again. Two of my dh's brothers have not spoken in 15 years over a money issue...it's crazy. Prayers that whatever you choose, it works out...and that the tension dissipates. *


#5

Unless it was a substantial amount of $$.. say over $5,000 I would not take a family member to court because of the rift it would cause and the stress. It just wouldn't be worth it. That's just me though.. I wouldn't fault you if you did.. I think it's a personal decision.


#6

Perhaps a chance to exhibit charity?

If feasible delay the repayment, ie. tell the relative that you do not want to pressure her & will accept repayment over time as she can afford it, with no interest, or minimal interest to cover your expense only.

Put the agreement in writing, as time creates misunderstanding & once she repays you, you will help her learn responsibility & allow her to regain lost pride!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark


#7

hmm. thanks for the replies. I suppose I should let it go. she quit paying rent and the electric bill and damaged alot of the house. my MIL bailed her out by paying over $2000 in electric bills out of her pocket and $1000 in owed rent so my husband and I wouldn't find out and be angry with her. then we found out... none of us are wealthy, my husband and I are just getting by and can't afford to make the repairs. we're still a month behind on our mortgage payment because of her. she used a whole full tank of heating oil and never refilled it. she left doors open and a woodchuck moved in and literally ATE a big fancy expensive patio door. she somehow broke a bathtub and a window (I was told she threw a fork at it) and she won't consider payments. I have been cordial, she tells me to ^&^ off. I have offered to do whatever she needed. but she finds it more important to blow her money at the bar and on clothes. we will NEVER be close to her again but I worry because we are close to BIL who is her father. he's unhappy with her but he's also got him around her finger and I am concerned she'd go to him for money. he doesn't deserve that. we have a signed lease and bank statements and all that available. I'm so angry with her we almost got into a fistfight this weekend. she won't contact us at all so we went to a bar she was at and confronted her. that lit a big fuse. I don't know what to do. I think for BIL's sake I'd like to let it go. but on the other hand I want so badly to pay back MIL. she didn't have to do that and just wanted to keep the peace. (she was acting as landlord for us while we were living out of state). and I'd like to fix the house back up. and honestly, I'd like to out of principle because of what she's done to us. none of us deserve this. it's one of those WWJD moments I guess... :o I don't know I'm soooo torn still...


#8

[quote="flyingfish, post:2, topic:184171"]
How much money is involved? How wealthy are you? If it's not a lot of money, or if you are so wealthy that it doesn't matter, I would let it go.

On the other hand, if it is money you need, I would pursue it.

[/quote]

it's between 5 and 6000 total. I was thinking small claims to avoid lawyers fees and that caps out at 5000 I think. still trying to figure out what to do. I wish she would be reasonable and feel a little bit bad for treating her family like she did.


#9

your original question was about money
she already has two parents manipulated into paying her way and putting up with her stunts, nothing related to Christian charity says you have to do the same, in fact it is a breach of charity to enable someone else to live the way she does.

Your last post is about criminal activity, or what would be criminal if this was a renter you found the usual way. Your call. What does your insurance company say?


#10

[quote="puzzleannie, post:9, topic:184171"]
your original question was about money
she already has two parents manipulated into paying her way and putting up with her stunts, nothing related to Christian charity says you have to do the same, in fact it is a breach of charity to enable someone else to live the way she does.

Your last post is about criminal activity, or what would be criminal if this was a renter you found the usual way. Your call. What does your insurance company say?

[/quote]

I don't want to wreck her life. she'll never be part of my or DH's life again but I don't have a personal issue with her. we want to move on. to pay off MIL and to make the repairs the house needs, now that we're living in it. nothing more. I learned a LOT of lessons during this ordeal. all the hard way. I wish she'd feel bad and want to make payments (I offered her INTEREST FREE payments in her amount of choice...). just found out she has another case against her for similar reasons and she's never paid a dime to the other landlord even though he won the case hands down. she flooded his house.

I don't know how you're supposed to forgive people like her. I'm struggling with that too.


#11

It's always best to "forgive" the sinner but I don't think it's fair to tell people who have been wronged that they must "forget" the sin (or the debt!)

Of course you can pursue this in court, but bear in mind that (1) you will spend a lot of money litigating it and (2) even if you "win," you might never see the money because she may never have the assets available to pay you and her parents are not obligated to fulfill judgments against her.

Small claims court (or in some states "conciliation court") maximums vary based on which state you are in. If the amount owed to you is less than the cap, it may be affordable to litigate it. If the amount is just slightly over, I'd recommend cutting your losses and pursuing it in small claims court anyway (being aware that you cannot "win" more than the maximum allowable amount).

puzzleannie makes a good point--what does your insurance company say?


#12

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:11, topic:184171"]
It's always best to "forgive" the sinner but I don't think it's fair to tell people who have been wronged that they must "forget" the sin (or the debt!)

Of course you can pursue this in court, but bear in mind that (1) you will spend a lot of money litigating it and (2) even if you "win," you might never see the money because she may never have the assets available to pay you and her parents are not obligated to fulfill judgments against her.

Small claims court (or in some states "conciliation court") maximums vary based on which state you are in. If the amount owed to you is less than the cap, it may be affordable to litigate it. If the amount is just slightly over, I'd recommend cutting your losses and pursuing it in small claims court anyway (being aware that you cannot "win" more than the maximum allowable amount).

puzzleannie makes a good point--what does your insurance company say?

[/quote]

honestly I never approached the insurace company because it was caused by a renter, not somw disaster... I doubt it would be covered. I will call them today and check.

we were thinking small claims would be best. like you say I doubt we will see any money from her anytime soon. I don't know.

thanks!


#13

no need, she is doing a great job of that on her own

I don’t know how you’re supposed to forgive people like her. I’m struggling with that too.

forgiveness has nothing to do with condoning, abetting, enabling or denial, it has to do with your own interior attitude first about the behavior–be honest and label it for what it is, criminal mischief with intent–and about the person–who is after all a relative, or at least the relative of someone close to you. Why are you paying off MIL? did I miss something?


#14

I was under the impression that forgiveness and lawsuits were polar opposites. I guess I understand what you mean… you can forgive the person who wronged you and still do what you have to do to ammend things in my (and DH’s) own lives? maybe I’m missing your point. I didn’t think it could be both ways.

MIL was acting as landlord (and taking care of the bank account–that was DH’s idea, don’t get me started on that!) for us and did not tell us that the renter had stopped paying the rent and electric bill. she paid them off out of HER pocket. it all came out later at one point when we got a call from the bank saying the mortgage was 2 months past due. it was automatically withdrawn every month from a seperate local account and the rent (combined with the lease of our pastures and farm ground from local farmers) was covering it 100%. so we didn’t worry about it. then apparantly the renter decided she didn’t want to pay through MIL and told her she was going to deposit it in the bank directly. like a fool she believed her. then the electric bill (which was in OUR name, another big oops! it got sent to MIL and MIL gave it to the renters) didn’t get paid ALL WINTER and was to the tune of $1800 by spring (she heated the house with space heaters…). so MIL paid it off without telling us as she didn’t want to cause any more friction in the family.

when we saw the renter this weekend I about clobbered her. I am pretty proud of myself for holding back. she flat out told us “well I didn’t ask for you to pay my bills.” WHAT?! so needless to say I’m spitting mad but trying to keep in check and take the high road if that would be the right thing to do… :shrug:


#15

I haven't read through all the posts. But my opinion is you should go after her civilly -- not in the spirit of vindictiveness but because it is the right thing to do. She needs to be held accountable. If everyone would allow this person to be accountable for his/her own choices, their life would probably start to turn around in a positive way.

I analogize it to a drunk -- you're not helping them by giving them more to drink. You help them by letting them know that their choices and actions have consequences.

Just my two cents.


#16

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