Today I will discuss the legal issues regarding lending or borrowing money, as I have never discussed these issues before and I seem to be getting more and more emails regarding different debt situations lately. I am going to be answering questions regarding debts that were done on a friendly basis mostly, and this is because I understand how awkward it can get when you lend money to a friend or when you have to pay back a family member. As always, I am going to be using terms that can be understood by your average speaker and avoid legal terms.
Question: I lent money to my friend – around KD 3,000 – and now my friend is ignoring me. She was supposed to pay back KD 100 every month, but she did not. Is there anything I can do about it legally?
Fajer: First of all, I understand that you lent the money on a friendly basis, but do you have any written proof that you lent the money? Did your friend send a paper? Was the transfer done through a bank? Was she paying for some time but then stopped? Was there correspondence regarding the money via email? All these things you have to look at and consider as they might be used as evidence. If you have evidence, then you can file a case and get a court judgment forcing your friend to pay.
Question: I have a court verdict stating that a certain person still owes me money and needs to pay me the amount back, yet this person is still not paying. What can I do?
Fajer: Your lawyers should handle this, but I will explain what happens in very simple terms. The lawyers will take the court’s final ‘verdict’ to a department in the Ministry of Justice that handles executions of judgments. They will freeze this person’s assets, depending on what they own, making their daily lives very difficult until they pay you the amount.
Question: I have lent someone money and they have not returned it yet, but I do not want to file a lawsuit as I do not want this to affect him and his children. I have heard that the ministry can put a hold on his assets, and the last thing I want to do is put a strain on him and his family. So is there anything I can do?
Fajer: Theoretically, the law has been written in a way where the assets that are frozen are not necessary for the family’s survival needs, but that is just theoretically, and there is no way to tell what a person is going through or what issues they might be dealing with. The law has tried to balance the equation out, but I guess it depends on your needs as well. After all, the money is your right.
Question: I borrowed KD 3,000 from a friend and I promised to pay them back by May 1. Now I cannot afford to pay it back. What can I do?
Fajer: Honestly, the best way to deal with this is to speak to your friend and try and negotiate another scenario, maybe paying a small amount every month or getting an extension. Whatever you agree on, make sure you do so in writing.
This is not legal advice but I would like to give it anyways because I have seen things from my experience working at the law firm and dealing with clients with such issues. Do not let money get in the way of family or friends or other fruitful relationships, and always, always have things in writing, even if it is between friends or family. The two statements may seem to be contradicting, but they are there to protect you. Always forgive. I am sorry if I have moved away from speaking only legally, but it is just that I have just seen a family fight over money and the brother is determined to put his sisters in jail for not paying him back the amounts they borrowed that they cannot afford to repay. Situations sometimes get out of hand when it comes to the law, and I felt the need to speak about it publicly.
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By Fajer Ahmed