When family won’t repay a loan

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 Q. My sister has borrowed money from me and she stopped paying me back. We didn’t do a formal loan but I do have paperwork saying she’d pay me $200 a month until the loan was paid off. She hasn’t made a payment in six months. She keeps saying she’s trying, but I need the money. What can I do?

A. Family and money can be ugly business.

We’ll assume that you’ve already tried talking to her given that she said she’s trying, but trying won’t help your budget at all.

You didn’t say how much the loan was for, but legally, you can file a suit in the Small Claims Division of the Special Civil Part Court if the balance is less than $3,000, said Ronald LeVine, a Hackensack-based attorney.

“The office is in the county court house of the county where the debtor lives,” he said. “It won’t help family relations, however, but it might motivate her to begin paying.”

LeVine said the suit will result in a trial date being scheduled, at which time your sister will have to come to court with the written promise to pay and schedule of payments.

“The Division is set up to help non-lawyers to handle cases, and the staff in the court offices is quite helpful,” LeVine said.

Good luck!

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This story was first posted in April 2015. 

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.