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I was married for 28 years to a man that hardly worked. We lived in his family owned house. we divorced and he moved letting me

Granite City, IL |

live in the house for 3 years without paying rent. I paid property taxes for 2 of those 3 years and also paid his truck insurance for the 3 years with no repayment to me for the insurance. I trusted him and did not get receipts from him for anything I paid. I left the house owning $900 to the power company. The power was in his name. Can he sue me in small claims court for the $900.00.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

Either way the bill is in his name so he is responsible to the power company and they cannot go after you. If he wanted to collect on any bills owing he shoud have mentioned it in the divorce case. If your divorce papers do nt state that you are responsible for the utilities while you continue to live there then he really has no recourse.

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Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Apparently he has already sued you in small claims court. If he did not have any lease , divorce decree, or contract stating you owe the power company bills then I do not know how he can prevail. He should have changed the utilities to your name or drawn up an agreement or lease.

Asker

Posted

Thank You Guys! Now I can sleep better tonight!! :)

Posted

He can try but if the power was in his name, he is ultimately responsible. If there is no court order requiring you to pay that bill, then your ex would be hard pressed to force you to pay it.

Asker

Posted

he has filed a small claims case againist me for it so I just need to go to court and see what the judge says?

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

You asked could he sue you. You did not mention he already did. Yes. Part of your defense is that you never agreed to pay. See what the judge says. Good luck.

Asker

Posted

Thank You!

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

You are welcome.

Wes Cowell

Wes Cowell

Posted

I think you're on the hook for the money. It's just fair. You used the power, why shouldn't you pay for what you used? Fair is fair. If you want to get all "legally / technically" about it; then, your agreement was that you could stay in the house. He never agreed to pay for your power consumption. He never said you could plug anything in or turn on any lights. You did so without his permission. In essence, you used power without paying for it -- stole power. Do you have any writing sayin ghe gave you permission to use the power? Why not be fair about it and pay the bill?

Wes Cowell

Wes Cowell

Posted

Oh, one more thing: I'm thinking the power company sent the bills to the house in question; that is, to YOU. Did you ever forward those bills to your former husband? Did he have any knowledge that this problem was building and festering for three years? Or did you just move out after three years and then he got a bill for $900?

Posted

You would be responsible for the bill. It appears that this bill was run up after the divorce by you. While it is in his name, you were the one that benefited from it. This is similar to the law school case where someone comes over to mow your lawn without you asking, and you sit there and watch. Then you refuse to pay. It is called Unjust Enrichment. However, there is no guarantees in court, and he may loses his case.

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