It happens to the best of us: we go in on something with someone we trust and we end up with cosigner’s regret. It took some time, but you realized after a while that it wasn’t in your best interest to co-sign that credit card or loan for your loved one. Now you want to remove your name from the debt, but you know it won’t be easy. Getting your name off of a cosigned loan isn’t a walk in the park at all, and there are some circumstances that won’t allow for it at all.
Having your name on a cosigned loan essentially tells the bank or finance company that you’re willing to make payments if the other party doesn’t do their part. Having your name on that cosigned loan can also mean that the bank will pursue you to take over payments if the other signer files for bankruptcy or passes away before the debt is settled. As a general benchmark, a bank won’t let you off the hook as a cosigner on the debt unless the other party has shown responsibility and ability to handle the loan all by themselves, which makes sense because the whole reason you had to cosign in the first place was because they didn’t seem to have ability properly documented. If they are finally on their feet and doing well with their payments alone, the bank will want proof of that before anything more can happen. Keep reading for more information on trying to be released from that cosigned loan!
Removing Your Name from a Cosigned Loan
- A cosigner release might help. There are some loans that will release a cosigner of their obligations after a certain number of consecutive payments have been made on time. Two years of consecutive, on-time payments is about the normal span of time before a cosigner can be dropped. Read through your loan contract or get in touch with your lender to find out if this is a part of your loan agreement.
- Refinancing or consolidating might do the trick. Getting the other borrower to refinance the loan in their name could be a useful tactic. To be able to qualify for refinancing, that borrower has to have a good enough income to keep up with the new loan’s payments and a favorable credit history. Consolidation happens a lot with student loans and if the borrower qualifies, they can use the consolidation loan to pay off the cosigned loan. The original loan would still show up on your credit, but it should be indicated that the account was closed and paid in full. Payment and non-payment on the consolidation loan won’t affect you so long as your name isn’t listed on the loan.
- Sell and pay it off. If you’re on a cosigned loan for a big purchase like a home or automobile and the other borrower isn’t doing their part to keep up with the payments, you might be able to sell the asset and use the money you make to pay off the loan. Of course, your name has to be on the title for this to be an option.
Removing Your Name from a Credit Card
If there’s no balance on the credit card you cosigned for, the lender should have no problem removing your name from the account. But if there is a balance, as one of the “borrowers” on a cosigned loan, you’ll have to pay it off before you can make these kinds of changes.
- Get the balance transferred. Transferring the balance to a card that’s only in the other borrower’s name might be a good idea. Once the balance is transferred over, make sure to close the joint account to avoid charges being made on it in the future.
- Pay it off yourself. It’s definitely not fun paying off a credit card balance that you didn’t rack up, but simply paying it off is better than ruining your credit score or being pursued relentlessly by debt collectors that don’t let up. Once you pay the balance, you can close the account or have the limit frozen so no further purchases can be made on your dime.
Removing Your Name from a Forged Loan
If a loved one has managed to forge your signature on a loan, you could be in a really difficult situation. It’s not your fault, and you don’t want to be held responsible for something you never even agreed to but you might also not want to see criminal charges of forgery and fraud risen against your loved one. You could try and have the other borrower refinance or consolidate the loan and if it’s a credit card they might consider transferring the balance. You might come to an agreement with them to pay off the debt in a certain amount of time and have them sign off on an affidavit of forgery for a protection.