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Army Sergeant Sticks Mom With Car Payment

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My son is a sergeant in the Army. When he came back from Afghanistan almost 18 months ago, he had saved quite a bit of money, but he still had poor credit.

Since I love my son and I have been so proud of him for serving his country for the past 6½ years, I wanted to help him. Overall, he has been a good son until now.

I co-signed for the car and he has NEVER MADE ONE PAYMENT. Not one!

It's been one excuse after another. At first, he was getting settled in after his deployment. Then, he was getting his finances straight. He has promised to send the money, but I'm still paying the bill.

Ms. Vicki, I have to protect my credit so I have no choice but to pay the car payment. I'm stuck with no choice!

Now, I love my son, but I am so angry with him for taking advantage of me like this. I'm wondering if I should contact his commander and let him know, or should I take my son to court and sue him for my money. What do you think I should do?

Sincerely,
Angry and Sad Mother

Dear Angry and Sad Mother,

This is tough because your son is financially taking advantage of you. It's not fair.

Personally, I tell people to never co-sign for another person because if they were responsible with their finances, they wouldn't need a co-signer. But this is your son. I can understand your willingness help your child emotionally and financially even though he is an adult.

Let me say that your son is wrong for doing this. As a sergeant in the Army, clearly he should have the money to pay his car payment. That said, you have to be ready to face the consequences for the decisions you choose to make in order to recoup the money. 

If he was willing to make the payment, you could ask him to set up a direct deposit from his paycheck to take care of the loan. Or you could negotiate with him to pay most of the loan while you pay part for a short time. Or you could talk to the lender to possibly negotiate for some extra time.

But your son seems unwilling to make any payment at all. This puts you between a rock and a hard place.

For example, you should expect your son to be very angry with you if you take this issue to his commander. He will make you feel like the bad mother and threaten to never speak to you again. Are you ready for that?

You could take your son to court and discuss this issue in front of a judge. Are you ready for that?

You could refuse to make the payments, and the car would be repossessed. This would affect your credit rating too. Are you ready for that?

Lastly, you could continue to make the payments as you are currently doing. I know you don't want to keep doing this, and I totally understand. Most Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck.

There isn't an easy answer to this problem. More than anything, I want your relationship with your son to remain strong. I won't blame you for any decision you make. Let me know what you decide.

Readers, what would you do if you were in her place?

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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