My boyfriend and I broke up, for my birthday recently he gave me $3,000 in cash towards the down payment of a new car since he knows I'm in the market for a newer car. Now that we have broken up he wants the money back. I don't think I should have to give it back being that he left me high and dry and I now need to find a new house to live in. During our breakup there were several text messages flying about our issues, and while we were discussing the breakup (via text) he said "keep the money" at least 3 times via text. I never replied or addressed statements about the money. We finalized the breakup and shortly after, I get a text message that says "on second thought I want MY money back" - I didn't respond to this either. It was a gift. Can he sue me for this money?
Disclaimer: The materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
That will depend on the context in which your boyfriend gave the $3,000 to you. If he made an outright gift to you, then he cannot get it back. If he loaned you the money, then he can get it back regardless of whether you stay together or breakup. One the one hand, his statements "keep the money" may indicate the money was a loan, because otherwise there is no need to tell you to keep it. Also, people typically purchase each other gifts rather than handing $3,000 in cash to each other. On the other hand, perhaps the money was a loan, but by saying "keep the money" he said he is forgiving the loan. Be sure to consult your own attorney to protect your legal rights.
For better or for worse, anyone can sue for anything in this country. Based upon the facts you mentioned, however, it appears to be a gift -- and thus, there would be no legal grounds for him to get the money back from you. He can attempt to now create "strings attached" or "conditions" upon that money, but he'd have to prove (via a trial) that the money was a loan vs. a gift. So save your texts and any other written information that proves it was a gift and not a loan.
The $3000 size of the case may mean that he will eventually file a small claim against you in your jurisdiction and litigate it himself (like People's Court) without having to pay an attorney to handle it (which would be cost prohibitive for the size of the case). And even if you do have a small claim filed against you, look on the bright side -- at least you didn't marry this person and end up having to get divorced!
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to provide legal advice for your specific situation.
1. If it was a gift then you have no obligation to return the money.
2. If it was not a gift then return it to him.
He may or may not sue you in small claims over the money. Then you can both go before a judge and explain the above and they will make a ruling on the issue.
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