My original car was totaled, and I couldn't get a car on my own due to bad credit. The dealership approved me at a high rate with money down. When I get my trust fund, I can buy one.

My girlfriend said she would help me out so she purchased the car and signed for it. After 3 months I would refinance it in my name. Now she is threatening me to take the car back. Am I legally responsible for the car or is she. Can she make me pay for the car? I told her that she can take it back.

  • My questions is who is legally responsible. make first car payment June 26, 2o23.
    – Mike
    May 25, 2023 at 13:38
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    Need more details. Whose name(s) are on the loan and the car title? If both of you are on the loan, you're both responsible (that can come after you both). If you're both on the title. Then both of you need to agree on any sale or transfer.
    – D Stanley
    May 25, 2023 at 13:52
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    (And if you are both on the loan, both are responsible for the loan regardless of who is on the title. Responsibility for the car and responsibility for the loan are essentially two unrelated things.)
    – chepner
    May 25, 2023 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


Since you've said both your names are on the car title, the car is owned jointly by you; if it's in one person's name, they are the owner (barring community property laws and things of that sort; I'm presuming you two aren't married). You can gift her with the car or with your ownership share of the car, making her the sole owner (talk to the Motor Vehicle Bureau about how your state handles that), but that doesn't free you from any responsibilities to the bank described in the previous paragraph. I believe there are past answers on this too.

For the benefit of other readers: If both your names were on the loan, I'd suggest seeing past answers regarding co-signed loans. As @D.Stanley points out, cosigning means the bank can come after either or both of you for the money. If only one, that's the person who has made the promise to the bank and who is responsible for making sure the loan gets paid off.

Likewise for reference, the auto insurance will have to be straightened out. She'd now need her own insurance on the car, assuming she might want to drive it. (If she was just going to sell it off, it might be possible to do so without insuring it until then, but that's a matter of local law.)

So in your scenario, where this was entirely an informal arrangement except for cosigning, you really, really, REALLY need to work out an agreement with her. If you absolutely can't, you're talking about lawyers, or at the very least small claims court... at which point things get divorce-style ugly; not recommended if at all avoidable.

  • One thing to add 'who is on the title': there is 'AND' and 'OR'. 'AND' requires both people on the title to sign when selling, 'OR' requires only one.
    – Anemoia
    May 25, 2023 at 23:42
  • True, but since the question asked only involves selling/gifting/whatever to the other person who might be on the title (assuming there aren't yet more complications), I think that if they want to buy it they will approve of selling it to themselves. And I don't think you can actually give someone ownership of anything unless they accept it.
    – keshlam
    May 26, 2023 at 1:19

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