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German citizen in USA wants money from here in Germany

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Hi, I have searched the forum already, but didn't come up with much regarding my issue as its quite specific...

 

I am an American living in Germany with a blue card. Permanent contract in RLP.

 

When I was still in America, I had a German boyfriend for 7 years. He now has dual US/German citizenship. Over the course of the relationship, we paid for things together and because we thought we would be together forever...he gave me some money as a down payment on a house in the USA (the house is only in my name though). Then we also paid off a car together, paid off credit cards together, etc. When I moved to Germany, he gave me the money for the security deposit (on the idea he would join me eventually). Well, the relationship didn't work out and now he wants all the money back. He recently inherited some land here in Germany and got a tax bill from the Finanzamt for >25k euros. Unfortunately, I feel like we were in a relationship and I didn't keep track of what I gave him and so there is nothing to pay back. We were supposed to be building a life together and I can't help now that he has a large tax bill.

 

I did try to sell the house recently on the idea that he could at least have the down payment back. However, this didn't work out so all the money is still tied up in the house. And the rental income barely covers the mortgage, so its not like I am making a ton of money off the house (hence, why I tried to sell it). Nor do I have a ton of money even if I wanted to give him some (American with 140k in student loans...)

 

So the question is, can a German citizen sue me here in Germany for something that happened in the USA??? I mean, I know he could sue me in the USA, but this would be quite hard as it would be impossible for him or someone to serve me with papers. I haven't seen him in over 2 years and he has no idea when or where I am when I visit the USA (nor do I do tell him or have any contact with him). Does he have any standing here with something that happened in the USA? He still lives in the USA, but he is a German citizen so could come here if he wanted to do something legally (at least I assume so).

 

I have emails that discuss the down payment as a gift. We don't have any sort of contract regarding the money (not so romantic if we did), so I am not sure what proof he can actually show besides bank statements. He is the one contacting me by phone and email. I ignore all calls as the stress from the situation is too much (the relationship was difficult enough, which is why its over). I have tried to give as much info regarding the situation. Hopefully it is clear.

 

Any sort of help would be greatly appreciated!!

 

Thanks.

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No, he can't sue you in the U.S. A gift is a gift, even if you've broken up.

 

Unless he formulated it otherwise (and you say he did the exact opposite), he doesn't have a legal leg to stand on.

 

If he's desperate for cash to pay his tax debt, he should take out a loan or sell (some of) the property he inherited.

 

Having said that, given the circumstances, it might be fair to at least pay back the money he gave you for the deposit on the house at some point, as you yourself noted - maybe in monthly installments.

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1 hour ago, Nkwal said:

I did try to sell the house recently on the idea that he could at least have the down payment back. However, this didn't work out so all the money is still tied up in the house. And the rental income barely covers the mortgage, so its not like I am making a ton of money off the house (hence, why I tried to sell it).

 

But you might down the road when you do decide to sell it or the mortgage is paid and you get all the rental income. This is probably how he sees it.

 

OTOH, couldn't he sell some of the land to pay the bill?

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7 hours ago, Nkwal said:

he gave me some money as a down payment on a house in the USA (the house is only in my name though).

Money does not have a space on the bills "for this use only".  He gave you money.  Period.  You could have used his money for many things,  The mortgage company does not have him listed on the account, so to them, he does not exist.  Only you are liable for the mortgage, insurance, etc.  Judge Judy would ask, "does he have a written contract with you?  any proof?"

A gift is just that...a gift.  You go to Las Vegas together and he hands you some money and says, "Put this on red at the roulette wheel".  It comes up black.  Years later, he wants that money back.

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16 hours ago, Nkwal said:

Over the course of the relationship, we paid for things together and because we thought we would be together forever...he gave me some money as a down payment on a house in the USA (the house is only in my name though). Then we also paid off a car together, paid off credit cards together, etc. When I moved to Germany, he gave me the money for the security deposit (on the idea he would join me eventually).

 

 

 

As my great grandma said "Never underestimate the power of the vagina!"  

 

I can understand why he'd be upset,  but it was all a gift, and there was no contract, so he cannot claim it back. Unfortunately, love makes you do stupid things. It's a good lesson for the both of you.

 

I think he feels he got burned pretty badly and is going full German mode on you.

 

I've heard of a German guy who owns a house and charges his girlfriend rent (!). Only in Germany. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, wien4ever said:

I've heard of a German guy who owns a house and charges his girlfriend rent (!). Only in Germany. 

When my ex- decided it was over, back in the early 80s, we were sharing a small rented Wohnung with Vierling and Fuenfling.

He said to me (and I'm sure he believed it), 'I'm almost Arabian in my hospitality, but when are you moving out?'

ETA - even at the time, I thought that was pretty funny.  And the boys and I stayed, he had to move out.

 

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Pardon my rant.

 

If I had a Euro for every time someone (regardless of country) told me that their romantic partnership, often involving years of cohabitation and kids, does not need acknowledgement or sanctioning by some government body via an archaic institution known as "marriage", I could buy myself a nice dinner.   

 

Marriage seems to provide a standard set of rules to handle cases when there is shared property and unexpected death (among other things).    

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7 hours ago, wien4ever said:

I think he feels he got burned pretty badly and is going full German mode on you.

 

I've heard of a German guy who owns a house and charges his girlfriend rent (!). Only in Germany. 

 

“full German mode” #truethat

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7 hours ago, wien4ever said:

I've heard of a German guy who owns a house and charges his girlfriend rent (!). Only in Germany. 

 

Why wouldn't his girlfriend pay part of the costs when she lives there? Calling it "rent" is weird, though.

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A moron is born every minute. He doesn’t have a leg to stand on, what he should have made is insisted to be co-owner of the house, the car, etc or yes, marry. This is not even being German, it’s simply not wanting to end up poor.

 

so yeah, you have nothing to worry about. Morally, though, treating house and car  payments  as gifts when bought under a “happy forever  together” assumption is a bit thin.

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17 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

But would Judge Judy see it that way?  

 

Is anyone on this thread a lawyer?  Im not, but I know enough to know that these things are often not as simple as armchair lawyers think.  Lots of "gifts", engagement rings etc and handled weirdly in relationship breakups

 

On 3/8/2019, 9:25:31, Nkwal said:

we paid for things together and because we thought we would be together forever...he gave me some money

 

Paid together, or gave?

 

On 3/8/2019, 9:25:31, Nkwal said:

he gave me the money for the security deposit (on the idea he would join me eventually)

 

Did he *give* you the money, or did he pay his share in advance?  You put in brackets "on the idea he would join me later", that to me suggests it wasnt a simple gift.  This is possibly a significant difference and in the context of a relationship these things are often not really clarified.  Had this been between friends we would say you need a contract that exlicitly spells out the details to avoid these problems.

 

All these gifts... if they were in germany (or many just in a year you lived in germany) might be taxable, did you declare them?  If you didnt declare them does that imply (to a lawyer) that you didnt consider them a gift?

 

Bottom line, law is complex and you have at least 2 countries that are in some way involved making it even more complex. I dont see how he could succesfully sue here but life is complecated and I have seen many legal judgements that I didnt believe possible. I dont see that you have much choice but to wait and see what if anything happens and deal with it whenit does.


To be clear, Im not expressing a view or judging either of you.  Im just saying that law is complex and I dont feel confident with everyone here saying dont worry its a gift.

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1 hour ago, SpiderPig said:

But would Judge Judy see it that way?  

 

That's a good question.  I think Judge Judy would say that as they didn't get married in which case there would be a legal framwork to split assets, she's not going into details of them playing house.  If he put more money into playing house but he never called it a loan and there was no agreement to pay it back, he can not have an expectation to get it back.  Some other judge might see it differently though.  How a German judge might see it, no idea.

 

Legally is not always the same as morally though.  I think it would be morally correct to sell the house in the US and give him back the down payment.  However that means him having to wait until it's sold.

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But as the OP has admited she tried to sell the house so that she could return the down payment would indicate that there was some sort of understanding that the payment wasnt a gift!

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16 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

But as the OP has admited she tried to sell the house so that she could return the down payment would indicate that there was some sort of understanding that the payment wasnt a gift!

 

Yes, you have a point there.  Judge Judy might make her pay because of that.  Although she does have emails saying it was a gift.  So who knows.  Maybe Judge Judy would say if she was ready to pay it back, she should.

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Ok but the point of the thread is not so much "what would judge Judy say" as does the guy have a right to pose the question in court. And if so which court? Judge Judy or Richterin Irgendjemand here in the land of beamters and legal insurance?

 

I can't really see that it's a German matter, but I'm not certain. Does anyone that understands the law have an opinion or shall we all just keep guessing?

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My ex's mom gave me a very expensive gift - a family heirloom - at one point.  When we split up I considered returning it to her.  That doesn't mean we had any "arrangement", it was just something I considered of my own free will.  I did give him lots of stuff I didn't "owe" him when we parted ways - this is really not so nefarious.

 

The time to discuss these issues is ideally at the time the exchange was made, or possibly at the break-up point at the very latest.  Not years later when one person suddenly needs some cash or regrets giving up whatever it was and wants to call back an exchange of goods or cash that, at the time, was made with no strings attached. 

 

No of course I don't assume this has any bearing on legal implications. Anyone who has serious questions like this should talk to a legal profi

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33 minutes ago, zwiebelfisch said:

Does anyone that understands the law have an opinion or shall we all just keep guessing?

 

I actually did some research before posting. Here's one US-based legal advice site I found where three different lawyers confirm what I said: a gift is a gift and not meant to be taken back.

 

The gist: unless the ex can prove that the "gifts" were intended as a loan (and the OP says she has evidence proving the opposite), he doesn't have a legal leg to stand on.

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