Q: Can an ex-fiancé Be responsible to continue to pay for an obligation that he agreed upon in a relationship?
He committed to pay for an above ground pool knowing I couldn’t afford it. I have text messages of him saying he will pay 100% prior to the break up. I also have the direct deposits for the pool payment. Now that he left (while I was at work a month ago, no notice) I’m stuck with this payment I can’t afford. The pool is in my name. He was in the process of moving in but within 2 days, he left without notice. He did say he would continue to pay for my ring (that’s also in my name) post break up. I told him I’ll return the ring when payment is made. Can he be responsible for at least 1/2 of the pool total since he knew from the start I couldn’t afford it and it was to enhance OUR lives when him and his son moved in? He made 4 payments on the pool total. I told him after he left that he put me in a major financial bind with the promise of having a “joint” income household.
A: All facts, communications, and writings (including the agreement with the pool company) would need to be examined to give reliable legal advice. Based on your brief description here, you appear to be in a situation in which you may or may not have legal recourse - and it's a situation that would be under a completely different legal analysis if you were married, in which case you definitely would have legal recourse.
If the promise to make the payments were made simply out of love/affection (existing at the time), with no EXPRESSED expectation of him getting anything in return from you (e.g., you adding his name as owner, or you conveying to him an item of equal value), a court likely would deem the promise to be an unenforceable promise, rather than a binding, enforceable contract.
However, if you were DAMAGED due to justifiable reliance on your ex's actions, you might be able to pursue a cause of action (valid basis for lawsuit), such as a promissory estoppel claim. If the end result of this situation is that you simply lose a pool that you lost no money on, and you are no longer indebted to the pool company, and your credit isn't damaged, you legally have suffered no damages. If, on the other hand, the pool company insists on going after you for the balance due, and will sue you if you don't pay, you possibly may have a cause of action. Again, this is something that would need thorough examination at a consultation. Before anything, it's best to ask the pool company what the next step is if you cease making payments. They may be willing to work something out resulting in no damage to you.
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