– from Doris M. in Trenton, WI

Question Details:

I lived with my boyfriend for four years. We never were married, as he did not have a lot of money. During that time, he was in between jobs and I would give him money when I could. I also saved up and gave him $5,000 to help him buy better clothes and find a job, with the verbal agreement that he would reimburse me for the money. He and I are now split and he refuses to pay back the money. Can I get the money back?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Thank you for your question. Contracts can be won yes, but courts look at public policy regarding certain contracts. However, I believe there is a strong possibility you can make your former boyfriend reimburse you.

It was discussed in Watts v. Watts, 137 Wis.2d 506, 405 N.W.2d 303 (1987) that public policy does not necessarily preclude an unmarried cohabitant from asserting a contract claim against the other party to the cohabitation so long as the claim exists independently of the sexual relationship and is supported by separate consideration.

If you have any more questions, give me a call.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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