As a co-signer, how can I get out of an auto loan?

I co-signed on an auto loan for my boyfriend in 11/08. In 03/10 he left with the car. In 11/10 I found that he had stopped paying for the car loan (in 08/10). And now the car is no longer running. The title is in his name only. He has no permanent residence and rarely answers my phone calls. He refuses to sign the title over to me, or to agree to a voluntary repossession. In other words, he is being completely uncooperative. Is there any way that I can get out of the auto loan? I cannot afford to make payments now that I am down to one income, and I can’t refinance alone.

Asked on January 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you almost certainly cannot get out of the loan. The other parties to the contract--that's what a loan is, at heart; a contract--would have to agree to allow you out. Even leaving aside yoru ex-boyfriend, the bank has no incentive or reason to do this; allowing you out of the loan increases the risk of default for them, since it removes a person from whom they could seek payment. You may well have grounds to sue your ex-boyfriend--for his share  of the payment, or possibly for the car--but if he has no permanent residence, the car isn't working, and he won't even answer the phone, it's not clear what you could recover. You should contact an attorney to discuss the matter--most lawyers will talk to you initially for free, to see if there is a case, and you need someone to listen to all the circumstances in detail to advise you as to what you could or should do.


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