What Is Involved in the Joint Ownership of a Car?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2019
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The joint ownership of a car is one way for two or more people to have access to reliable transportation, even if affording single ownership is not practical. The actual process of acquiring and managing a vehicle with this type of relationship does require some advance planning. Attention should be paid to how the financing is arranged, the process for obtaining car insurance, and even how to go about sharing the use of the vehicle. While not for everyone, joint ownership can work quite well if the co-owners can address these and other key issues up front, and come to a consensus.

One of the first considerations with joint ownership of a car is how to go about acquiring the vehicle. Since financing is likely to be involved, all the partners will need to meet the qualifications related to the granting of the car loan. In some nations, multiple signers on a loan is easily obtained, with the understanding that all the signers do hold joint responsibility for the debt. In situations when this type of arrangement is not possible and one of the owners must be designate a primary debtor, care should be taken to working out a specific means of each partner contributing to the settlement of the monthly installment payments, up to the point that the loan is paid in full.


Along with working out the details of the car financing, there is also the issue of registering the car with local authorities and obtaining car tags. As with the financing aspect, accounting for joint ownership of a car in terms of registration will vary somewhat, depending on local laws. In some jurisdictions, couples who are married or are part of a civil union may claim joint ownership in the registration with no problems. In like manner, blood relatives may also be listed as co-owners. When the joint owners are not related and not in some type of recognized legal relationship, there is often additional criteria that must be met in order for both parties to be listed on the car registration.

Even after managing the financing for the purchase, obtaining car insurance and properly registering the car with local authorities, there is still the matter of working together in terms of both the use and the maintenance of the vehicle. This is the point at which joint ownership of a car may begin to falter. In order for the process to work, each partner must be willing to compromise on who has possession of the car when, who will be responsible for routine maintenance, and how any major expenses associated with the vehicle will be managed by the owners as a collective. All rules and regulations should be put in writing, so there is no opportunity for misunderstanding of what is expected of each partner. Unless there are very defined rules and regulations regarding the joint ownership of a car, the potential for the arrangement falling through and permanent damage to the relationships between the owners is a very real possibility.


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Post 2

Your post is very true Heavanet. A friend of mine bought a car with her boyfriend several years ago. When the relationship broke up and the ex-boyfriend reneged on his part of the loan, my friend had to choose between ruining her credit or trying to come up with a monthly payment that she didn't have. Needless to say, she still owns the car and owes more than it is now worth on the loan payment.

Post 1

You certainly want to make sure that you have a solid, trustworthy relationship with the person you are considering join car ownership with before you get into this type of deal. Otherwise, if financial problems occur, it could result in damaged credit and loss of friendship.

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