I gave my son a loan on three separate occasions. First one was $2000, the second one was $2500 and the third one was $2500. He acknowledges that he owes me the money but his new fiancée is refusing to let him pay it back and apparently he's in agreement with her. I have 3 canceled checks many messages saved where he acknowledges his debt. I'm in AZ and small claims is only up to $2500. Can I file another type of suit? Or can I file 3 different civil suits? Also I'm in AZ and my son just moved to WI about a month ago. Can I file here...I don't want to have to travel to WI for an court date.
Estate Planning Attorney
Arizona will be raising it's small claims to $5000 here soon, but in the meantime, you'll need to determine where the contract occurred. If your son borrowed the money from you here, the AZ courts have jurisdiction and it appears to me that if these where three separate loans, you have three separate cases, but would also have separate filing fees, service of process costs, etc. It may be worth it to go for Justice Court or talk to an attorney that handles these areas. A few dollars in consultation fees could save you some serious headaches later.
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Contracts / Agreements Lawyer
Mr Harris' advice is accurate. The good thing about bringing a $7K claim in Justice Court is that you can use a lawyer and get your attorney's fees back when you win. On the other hand, if you bring the three smaller claims in small claims court, you are more likely to get default judgments since your son is unlikely to travel from Wisconsin and he cannot hire a lawyer to appear for him in small claims court.
You can file three separate suits in small claims or you can file one suit in the Justice Court incorporating all three loan agreements. While it is good that your son acknowledges he owes you, if you have that in writing it is better - a written promissory note would be better still. You can utilize an attorney and obtain attorney's fees as part of the judgment in the event that you prevail. However, if your son is in Wisconsin and does not have money to pay, or does not want to pay, even after the judgment, you will have to get the judgment domesiticated in Wisconsin and attempt to collect the judgment there. Good luck.
This information is provided for general informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. An attorney licensed in your jurisdiction can answer questions specific to your specific fact situation and provide you appropriate advice as necessary based on the specific facts of your matter and the jurisdiction in which you reside. If you are in Arizona and interested in discussing your matter further I can be reached at: (480) 838-9000 Campbell Law PC 1839 S. Alma School Road, Suite 275 Mesa, Arizona 85210