As a co-signer for an auto loan, can I take my name off the loan?

My boyfriend and I separated after 5 years. We bought the car 8 months ago. My ex is the one that pays for the loan, the maintenance, etc., for this car. I have absolutely no use of it.

Asked on July 7, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, no, you cannot remove yourself from the loan, and it doesn't matter if you get no use or value from the car, or make the payments for it. In co-signing the loan, you essentially agreed contractually to guaranty the debt. As a contract, it can only be modified by the consent of ALL parties--including the lender and your ex-boyfriend. Every party to the agreement would have to agree to allow you off it--but there is no reason for the bank/lender to do that, since by allowing you off, all it does is reduce its chance of getting paid (i.e. if your ex-boyfriend defaults, it would not be able to seek payment from you) without getting anything of value in return. You can certainly ask to be released, but it is very unlikely (at best) that the lender would consent--and your ex would have to consent, too.

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