My question involves personal property located in the State of: Missouri.

My ex-significant other, at the time, and I had decided I would do major remodel work on the home that we bought together. I paid for a substantial amount of the down payment and I remodeled the majority of the home (floors, walls, kitchen remodel, bathroom remodels, carpets, paint, etc).

She has sold the home and made close to $30k based on the work that I have done to the home (she did no work).

I spent $7,500 on my credit cards, I contributed a substantial amount of the down payment and I invested months of my time in doing the remodel work itself.

I did the work only under the assumption that the profit would be split, upon sale. Now she's claiming that I'm owed absolutely nothing (not even my expenses) and refusing to pay.

I'm weighing my options between a real law suit (with a lawyer) and doing the small claims for the maximum of $5k.

I would guess that what seems like an open and shut case would be worthwhile for me to do with a lawyer, but I've spent gobs of money on a lawyer and gotten absolutely nothing in return previously, so I'm hesitant to go that route.

Here are my questions:

1.) Is my case very strong, like I think it is?

2.) What's an estimated timeline for a case using a lawyer?

3.) What's a range of costs if I hire a lawyer?

4.) What' an estimate timeline for small claims?

5.) Is small claim faster and easier usually?

Kind regards.