Skip to main content

Can I sue my mother to transfer debt created by bad checks written by her?

Wayland, MA |

My mother agreed to pay for my schooling (University of Maryland). She paid the last two semesters via bad checks. I was unaware of this until i tried to register for classes. The debt is over 25,000 dollars. I would never have attended those semesters if I knew she would be unable to pay for it in any way. Can I sue her for the debt because of our mutual understanding she would pay for this education?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Yes. You can consider bringing a claim under a theory called promissory estoppel, under which you would have to prove that 1) your mother made the promise to pay for your education, which she should have reasonably expected to induce action on your part in reliance on the promise, i.e. attending school and incurring the debt; 2) the promise did in fact induce you to attend school and incur the debt; and 3) injustice can only be avoided by enforcement of the promise. Consult with an attorney experienced in these sorts of claims, and good luck.


  2. Yes. But I would first review the facts with a local attorney to see how strong your claim is. Good luck.

    Our replies to Avvo questions should not be considered specific legal advice to any individual, and no attorney-client relationship is formed with you. Our aim is to provide general principles that may be useful to the Avvo community as a whole. You should seek individual legal advice pertaining to your specific factual situation, and the laws applicable to your jurisdiction. Moore & Moore Attorneys at Law -- thelaw@mytrustedlawyer.com


  3. Can you sue? The answer is affirmative, you can sue. That doesn't mean you will will. Undoubtedly, you will end up the loser in this, for suing your mother. That being said, the argument that you can proceed is based on the theory of promissory estopple. The basis of the principle is that you would not have attended school if your mother had not agreed to pay for it; you in fact attended school; and, it would be an injustice to allow her to get away with breaking that promise. You should certainly consult with a local attorney to explore your particular facts.

    When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.

Business topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics