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The Moneyist: "She's a monetary fool and partier": I loaned my sister $ four,780 for a lawyer throughout her divorce. I'm nonetheless in search of repayments

Two years ago my sister called me about a divorce talk without a lawyer. Her soon-to-be ex-spouse had a lawyer there. She was pressured to give up the part of his pension that she was legally entitled to (their marriage was over 20 years old). She freaked out in tears and realized that she needed a lawyer.

I told her to leave the meeting and get a lawyer. Then she asked me for money for the lawyer and promised to repay me. I testified for her about other financial problems in the marriage (I was the executor of our father's estate in which her husband misrepresented his claims to part of her inheritance). She thanked her lawyer again and again and promised to repay me.

"
"She borrowed another $ 5,000 from an aunt for a custody battle she lost."

I'm not rich and I didn't have $ 4,780 to spend, but I have good credit and have used my line of credit. It will be two years in May and I haven't received any payment. She should give me some monthly payments and lump sums at the time of the tax refund. Last year's excuse for no tax refund was that she borrowed an additional $ 5,000 from an aunt for a custody battle that she lost.

She makes $ 90,000 to $ 95,000 a year, but this year's excuse is that she is behind on child support payments. She is not destitute; She's a financial idiot and partier. I have texts that say she will pay me back and others that say she has no money. She swore before Thanksgiving that year that she would pay me in January. January came and went, no payment.

During a text discussion in early February, she told me about her backlog on child support payments (not a lump sum from her tax refund) and only plans to make repayments of $ 25 a month when she could. This plan doesn't cover the interest on the loan, and even if I were to agree to the interest cover, it would be over 20 years.

I told her that it was not acceptable and that she gave me no choice. I didn't say what action I would take. So I plan to take them to small claims court and garnish their wages. The Virginia statute of limitations is two years, so I have to do this by early May. Now the financial idiot sent me a check for $ 25.

If I redeemed it, would it extend the statute of limitations? Should i redeem it? What's the best approach? She's also a social media junkie. Her Facebook and Instagram have had several examples of vacations, drunk trips, and other expenses as of May 2019 that may have helped get her out of the financial pile.

There is a refund option, but it will be zero. Any advice is appreciated.

Deadbeats siblings

Dear siblings,

Play only what you can afford to lose. Invest only what you can afford to lose. Only borrow what you can afford to lose. I don't think you will get that money so my advice is to write it off as bad debt sooner rather than later. Sure, try the Small Claims Court, but if it doesn't come at a time when you have to say enough, that's enough, “I tried to do the right thing, she didn't repay, and me can't change it. “I have questions about what you want to achieve.

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"I see two unhealthy patterns: your sister reaches out and your talent. Each serves a purpose."

If she paid you the principal, would you start to feel similar injustice noises about the interest? If she paid you back with interest, would you get in trouble with the hoops of fire she made you jump through to get paid back? After all, you did her a favor, didn't you? How dare she make you do it? Third, what is that $ 4,780 worth to you? It's been two years of self-righteous anger, stress, and fear.

None of this should surprise you. I see two unhealthy patterns: your sister's grip and your aptitude. But each of them serves a purpose. Yes, your sister reactivates the statute of limitations by paying back a small portion of the loan, acknowledging that she still owes you money – five years for breaching a written contract or three years for an oral contract, but do speak to an attorney about it . If so, this tortured game of cat and mouse begins all over again.

How far are you ready to collect this debt? How long will you chase it And aside from the prospect of knowing you still have a chance of getting that $ 4,780 back, what does it do you if you are constantly feeling angry and frustrated with your sister? Does it reaffirm that you are the principled, upright one in the family? Or is the persecution of your sister for this money reminding her every day that she appears to be unable to keep a promise?

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"To really go on, you too have to take responsibility for giving it to her in the first place."

– The money is

I am asking you these questions for a reason. Of course, she is behind in terms of child support. You already know that your sister is a dramatic (and potentially irresponsible and / or reckless) person who has learned to use her alleged victim to her advantage. She can see herself as a victim of a bad marriage, a cruel husband, a biased judicial system, and other circumstances that do not include her own decisions and actions.

Your sister may or may not take responsibility for loaning this money, but in order for you to really move forward, you too must take responsibility for lending her in the first place. Few could blame you for wanting that money back. But in the game of life you already win. You are the sister who tries to keep her word, keep an eye out for others, and be the adult in the room. Your sister is losing. You will be right. Your sister is wrong. And for exactly $ 4,780 everyone else will see it.

You are not a credit company or debt collection agency. You are her sister for better or for worse. I understand you want that money back, but many people lead uneven, turbulent lives. You may also ask how this relentless pursuit of money from such a person serves you. Ask yourself if you did what you hopefully originally intended – alleviate some of your sister's self-doubts and fears, and ultimately help her messy life run a little easier.

You can email The Moneyist with all financial and ethical issues related to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com

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