My Brother Owes Me $6K. Should I Forgive the Debt or Sue Him?

Dear Penny,

My brother owes me over $6,000, and he is taking forever to pay it off. He owes money to banks as well. Would it be better to ruin our relationship and take him to court or just forgive the debt?

It’s a lot of money, and he has owed it to me for quite a number of years now. Do you have any other suggestions of how to recoup that money?


Dear Irritated,

Let’s put aside the relationship for a second. Do you think your brother has $6,000 sitting around somewhere and is refusing to pay you? Or is it likelier that he’s flat broke and you’re just one of the many people he owes?

Many people believe the myth that successfully suing someone means you’ll actually get money. That’s simply not true. Even if you have solid proof your brother owes you (which often isn’t the case with family and friends) and you win a court Judgment, that judgment is worthless when the person you’ve sued is broken.

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You could ask for a court order to garnish his bank account, but that won’t do you any good if…

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