Have you ever won a judgment against a family member or friend?

Has anyone ever sued a loved one (or former loved one) in small-claims court and won? If so, did you actually get any money out of them?

One of the most common questions I get is: “Is it worth it for me to sue my family member/ex/friend in small-claims court?” And I always hate my answer, which is: probably not.

Here’s an example from last year: https://www.thepennyhoarder.co…-ghosted-over-money/ The letter writer’s sister borrowed $825. She paid back $200, then disappeared.

I really want the letter writer to get her money back, but I also think her odds are pretty slim. From what I’ve heard, it’s often pretty easy to win a judgment in a case like this. But actually collecting on it is the hard part. Often the person who’s being sued is dead-broke, so there’s nothing to squeeze out of them. So the person who’s suing winds up paying the court fee to file, plus wasting time in court.

But maybe I’m wrong! Has anyone ever successfully sued a family member or friend in court? Did you get money as a result? Was it worth the time and effort?


I never even attempted to try and sue anybody in small claims court. I have always looked at it as a waste of time, based on what you mentioned, filing paperwork, court fees, etc, not expecting them to show up, knowing full well that they are broke. It would not get me anywhere but more heartache in the long run.

I write it off as a lesson learned by me, don’t loan things/money out to most people.

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Totally agree that it’s likely more trouble than it’s worth and will do even more damage to a fragile relationship.

The only time I was tempted to go to small claims court was when a former landlord found questionable reasons to keep my security deposit. But it just wasn’t worth the hassle of filing and showing up to court to recoup a couple hundred dollars. Probably exactly what the landlord figured as well.

I wanted to take an ex-bf to small claims court, but I knew he’d never come up with the money to pay me back. I even asked him to just use a check that credit cards offer. He said he could not, so I guess his credit is really bad. He gave me cash in small increments years ago, but still owes $2000. I was tempted to tell his parents but hoped he’d own up to it one day lol. Lots of lessons learned!

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i wanted to take my grandson he borrow 5000 four years ago and still paying me back here and there i told him he has to next month to pay me back the 1000 he owes or were going to have a problem.