Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Virginia

Co-signer for automobile loan

I am a co-signer for an automobile loan. I make the payments, drive and insure this vehicle. The other party wants ''out'' of the loan obligation. I am not in a position to refinance or to get an automobile financed in just my name alone.

The other party wants to take ''possession'' of the automobile, so it can be sold since I am not able to refinance . My questions are #1 Can the other party ''take'' the car from me? #2 If the other party takes back the car and sells the car but, does not get the amount owed who is responsible for the remaining debt on the car?

#3 Since the other party wants ''out'' of thier obligation and I want to continue paying for the automobile can I request the other party to ''buy'' thier portion of the loan?

Your help is most appreciated.

Asked on 2/12/03, 11:40 am

4 Answers from Attorneys

Daniel Hawes Hawes & Associates
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Re: Co-signer for automobile loan

You know, the most important question, and one which you didn't answer, is, "whose name is listed on the title as the owner?" Ownership and all the rights associated with ownership do not depend on who's obligated to pay on the contract. (You can figure out the answer to question #1 from that.)

As to Q#2: Read the promissory note or loan agreement documents: if it says both parties are "jointly and severally liable", that means that everyone who signed is equally liable and the creditor can sue each one individually or together for the full amount and receive multiple judgments for the full amount (although they can only collect once).

Q#3: Of course, you can ask. How you split up the payments is entirely between the two of you.

Why don't you just refinance the car in your name alone? (Make sure about the title - have the other purchaser sign it over to you if his name is on the title as an owner of the vehicle.)

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2/12/03, 5:08 pm
Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: Co-signer for automobile loan

The other co-signor has no right to take possession of the automobile. Title remains with the financing organization. You have the right of possession as you've been making the loan and

insurance payments for the vehicle. If the other co-signor fronted any of the down payment or made any of the loan payments on the vehicle, he or she could make a claim for these amounts as a condition of relinquishing his or her claim on the title at the time the loan is paid off.

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2/12/03, 5:18 pm
Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: Co-signer for automobile loan

The other co-signor has no right to take possession of the automobile. Title remains with the financing organization which would have the right to repossess and sell the vehicle if the loan were to become delinquent. No such right accrues to the other co-signor. You have the right of possession as you've been making the loan and insurance payments for the vehicle. If the other co-signor fronted any of the down payment or made any of the loan payments on the vehicle, he or she could make a claim for these amounts as a condition of relinquishing his or her claim on the title at the time the loan is paid off.

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2/12/03, 5:25 pm
Bruce Marshall Durrette, Irvin & Bradshaw, P.L.C.
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Re: Co-signer for automobile loan

The first question is who owns the automobile. In whose name is it titled ? The second question is whether the loan payments are and have been current ? If the answer to the 1st of theese questions is you and you alone and the answer to the 2nd one is yes then the co-signer cannot force you to sell the car (unless there is another contract between the two of you which you do not mention). Any further answers to your questions would require more facts than you have provided.

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2/12/03, 5:35 pm

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