Can my husband get out of our estranged daughter’s car loan?



Dear Penny,

My husband and I did a really stupid thing: we signed a contract for a truck for our 20-year-old daughter.

We did it in July 2021. We shook hands with each other in a “gentlemen’s deal” on the condition that she lives at home until 2022 to determine her actual income versus the money coming out.

She has a job that allows her to live independently without financial problems. We were worried about her lack of life experience. She went straight from home schooling to this job. She moved out without our consent or approval.

We have a bad relationship now. We want my husband’s name to be loaned OR the truck returned. We will accept payments and refund her deposit. It is difficult to realize that you are potentially responsible for something if something goes wrong. We are so unhappy that we don’t even know where she lives and her mobile number.

-Serves me right

Darling, that’s what I need

I don’t think the joint signing was your stupid move here. Co-signing tends to end badly when the person you sign for has terrible credit or insufficient income. Obviously, your daughter has a good job if she can already afford to pay all her expenses. But at 20 she probably didn’t have enough credit history get a car loan on your own without paying exorbitant interest.

Your mistake is that you made the joint signing dependent on her living at home until 2022. Of course, your daughter shouldn’t have agreed to something she wasn’t going to do. But she’s an adult. She doesn’t need your consent or approval to move.

Actually your claim doesn’t seem to be about money. She doesn’t need to live at home until 2022 to “calculate her actual income versus the money coming out,” if she can already afford her own home and pay all the bills.

I suspect this is about control. You don’t want to agree that your daughter is an independent adult. Perhaps you are right that she lacks life experience. But the only way to get it is to fly in the chicken coop. Do you really think that your daughter will find a mundane existence after living with her parents for another year?

But let’s put the family dynamic aside for a moment. Your options for withdrawal from a loan that you have co-signed limited.

You can request an exemption from the joint signature from the lender. But both your daughter and the lender will have to sign. You can also ask your daughter to apply for refinancing on her behalf. But you may have to wait at least a year or two for your daughter to build up a solid payment history and credit rating for the lender to even consider any option.

You can pick up the truck and take over the payments as you suggest. But this is an option only if your daughter wishes to transfer ownership to you.

Notice a common theme here? All of your options require your daughter’s cooperation. You have no chance of getting this if you don’t speak. The important thing here is that your message cannot be related to a car loan or her decision to move. Just say you love her and miss her. Ask her if she will be open to conversation.

If you can rebuild the relationship, I don’t think you should ask her to sign a truck or a petition to remove your husband’s name, as long as she makes payments on time. If she can handle adult responsibilities, treat her like an adult. You don’t have to agree with all of her life decisions.

If she doesn’t pay, obviously that’s a different story. The relationship will be more difficult to repair – in which case your husband’s name has nothing to do with the loan. As a co-author, he may ask the lender to send him monthly reports to ensure that the loan has been paid as agreed. Otherwise, unfortunately, the only way to avoid damaging his credit is to make the payments yourself.

I hope that the relationship with your child is enough motivation for the two of you to stretch out the olive branch. I don’t think this is actually a truck loan. But if I’m wrong and it really is a loan, the olive branch is still your only solution.

Robin Hartill is a Certified Financial Planner and Senior Writer at Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to


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