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Ask Dave

Her Parents Created A Bad Deal

Greg says three years ago, his wife's parents bought a home for his wife and her sister. Greg and his wife are paying half of the mortgage until it sells. Greg doesn't agree with that.

QUESTION: Greg in Baton Rouge got married three months ago. Three years ago, his wife’s parents bought a home for his wife and her sister while they were in college. The house is on the market now, and Greg and his wife are paying half of the mortgage until it sells. Greg doesn’t agree with that. His wife is on the mortgage, though. Dave thinks they’re overbearing people who did a bad deal.

ANSWER: I certainly don’t agree with it, and I think it was a bad deal. The problem is your wife’s name is on it. If it doesn’t get paid, it’s going to mess you guys up. It needs to be paid.

You’ve got two options. One is you keep paying it and bite your lip until it gets sold. Let’s get the thing sold. It’s a bad deal, and you minimize the relationship damage. Your other option is just to say, “You know, we don’t agree with this, and we’re not paying it. If it hurts us, it hurts us. That’s fine. Y’all pay it or don’t pay it. Do whatever.” But I suspect they’re going to pay it until it gets sold, and they’re just going to be mad. They’re very overbearing and very controlling people. They don’t want anybody challenging them at all. There’s nothing open for discussion or anything like that. They get offended by every little thing.

They did do a bad deal. They did a really bad deal. They’ve brought a curse upon their daughter, and that’s wrong. I think if I were in your shoes what I would do is be real quiet and calm and not bring it up for a little while. Let’s commit to a period of time that you’re going to pay it, and then at that point, you just say, “We’ve decided we’re not going to pay on this anymore.” Let’s give it until the end of the year and see if the house doesn’t get sold.

You don’t have to do anything. You can just choose not to do it. But when you do, you’re going to damage your relationship further than you already have. I think this ensures that you and your wife really learn the lesson we don’t do any deals with her parents because the deal changes. They make up the rules. They decided that your wife’s sister couldn’t pay, so she doesn’t pay. You can pay, so you do pay. We just make up our rules. There’s nothing written down here. The only thing that’s written down is your wife stupidly co-signed for this at 19 years old. She’s liable. If this gets foreclosed on, she’s going to have a foreclosure on her. If it’s late, it’s going to be late on her.

I’d pay it until Christmas and then decide. Don’t say anything else about it until Christmas. This just violates your sense of justice. It doesn’t feel right that parents should do this to their kids. And it’s not right. But there’s not a lot you can do about it because she’s trapped other than just not paying. That’s always an option, but I’d wait until after Christmas and do that if you’re going to do that.