ACT Money as Gift - Now a Debt?

Discussion in 'Debt and Bankruptcy Law Forum' started by Suprised, 11 November 2016.

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  1. Suprised

    Suprised Active Member

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    I was working as a contractor for the American Government in the Central Pacific and met and fell in love with an Australian who was also there. He asked me to join him in Australia. I relocated to Canberra in Jan 2008 to live with him. I resigned from my job after 35 years of overseas employment.

    Within a few weeks, I realised he was having an affair and he refused to end it. He also became very controlling and threatened violence. I had paid all my relocation costs, and was paying most of the household bills. He refused to let me use either of his 2 cars. I found myself alone in a foreign country in a frightening situation.

    He gave me $5000 dollars as I needed emergency surgery, I had the surgery and left him after 4 months and moved into a hostel and later got a job and put my life back together. I am now an Australian citizen and have been in a wonderful relationship with a good man for the last 5 years.

    2 weeks ago ( 8 years later ), my ex contacts me, asks me if I am in a permanent relationship and for the first time informs me that I am to repay the $5000 dollars debt or he will take me to court.

    I paid a lot of money to join him in Australia and spent 3 years putting my life back together after I left him because of his infidelity and bullying.

    The money was a gift, he handed it to me in cash and nothing was ever written down. He is now directly harassing me.

    What can I do?
     
  2. Lance

    Lance Well-Known Member

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    You were in a relationship and the money was gifted you, he only pursued you after 8 years for the money so it sounds like either his situation has changed and he needs the money or he is doing this to cause some level of distress.

    If you are feeling distressed and / or harassed and you feel your ex's behaviour is threatening, for your own safety you could apply for a Personal Protection Order (PPO) through the ACT Magistrates Court. A link to PPO forms is here: Forms 1 to 16 (Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Forms) - ACT Magistrates Court
     
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  3. Suprised

    Suprised Active Member

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    Dear Lance,

    His demands just came "out of the blue". He gave me the money in early 2008 as I had fractured a cervical vertebrae which needed prompt fusion. I had recently just joined him in Oz then and had no medicare.

    He is financially very well off with 3 or 4 cars and at least 2 homes.

    He has contacted me sporadically in the last 8 years to inquire initially if I would go back to him and later if I am still in a relationship with my current partner (now 5 years ). I have told him repeatedly I am happy and have moved on.

    This is the first time in 8 years he has ever mentioned I apparently owed him anything.

    2 weeks ago, I was visiting an elderly friend whom he also knows, he was taking her dog for a walk.
    She had apparently told him I was coming around. As her back was turned and she was occupied in the kitchen he pulled me into another room and demanded the money.

    I was shocked and also didn't want to distress my frail elderly friend so I excused myself and left
    He has now e-mailed me to say he is taking me to the small claims court.

    He is a very wealthy man.

    Yes, I am feeling harassed and threatened by him. His behaviour is frightening.
     
  4. Lance

    Lance Well-Known Member

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    You feel threatened and frightened so please speak to someone about putting something in place to prevent him contacting you.
     
  5. Suprised

    Suprised Active Member

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    Thanks Lance,

    I will have a chat to the police and if necessary take out a restraining order on him.

    Sadly, with my work with vulnerable people taking out a restraining order sometimes puts women at greater risk.

    Does he have any chance in ACT law of forcing me to give him the money ?
     
  6. Lance

    Lance Well-Known Member

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    I don't have the information at hand but I have a gut feeling not pursing the money within the 8 preceding is too long and he would be unsuccessful in an action to recover the money from you. I will take a look this evening to confirm.
     
  7. Suprised

    Suprised Active Member

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    Thank you so much Lance
     
  8. Lance

    Lance Well-Known Member

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    So even if this was a loan the limitation for him to recover the money (if it were a simple contract debt) is 6 years in the ACT. He didn't pursue you to recover any moneys within the 8 years so stick to your guns. If you spoke with a lawyer regarding the PPO, you could also discuss this matter, but it sounds like he is trying to use it as his only means of power over you. He has no position of power over you. You owe him nothing.
     
  9. Lance

    Lance Well-Known Member

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    If you are looking for the relevant legislation it can be found here: LIMITATION ACT 1985

    Just stick to the fact that you accepted it as a gift and at no stage entered into a contract to repay the money as a loan.
     
  10. Suprised

    Suprised Active Member

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    Lance you are wonderful! The situation I found myself in in 2008 was awful but I climbed out of it. I lived in a hostel, got a job and got back on my feet. As a bonus, I met a great man. I am content and happy. I do not need this monster to try and wreck it again.

    You have helped me in ways you cannot imagine.

    Thank you
     
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