, Advice by Ann Landers - []
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Section: children, family, marriage, manners

Dear Ann Landers,
Many years ago, my daughter asked me to co-sign a loan for a new car. She was young and just starting out, so my wife and I agreed to co-sign. After making only a couple of payments, she defaulted. By then, my wife and I had divorced, and I had remarried. My new wife and I ended up paying $246 a month for almost four years in order to pay off that loan. We did it because we felt it was important to maintain our credit rating, as well as our daughter's. My ex-wife refused to help in any way. Our daughter is now engaged to a fine young man. When we divorced, my ex-wife and I agreed to share the cost of a wedding whenever our daughter decided to marry. Since my ex did not contribute one cent to paying off that auto loan, I do not feel obligated to contribute to a future wedding and have said so. My daughter, with her "good credit rating," just bought a new car and took a nice vacation. She has never offered to pay back one red cent of the money I laid out for her first car. The young man is wonderful and had nothing to do with this mess. I feel uneasy about backing out on the wedding expenses, but I still think I'm justified in doing so. What do you say? -- Still Hurting in Levittown, N.Y.

Dear Levittown,
Sorry, I don't agree. You are mixing apples and oranges and coming up with lemons. Years ago, you and your ex-wife agreed to share the cost of your daughter's wedding "whenever she decided to marry." Well, Dad, the time has come, and you are honor-bound to keep your word.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Marina 's Comment
I disagree. In no way is this Dad obligated to pay for his daughter's wedding. He paid for her car. That's enough.

Reader Comment
Deduct the cost of the car payments from the wedding expenses. The adult daughter seems to feel entitled to having anything she wants without paying for them.

Maryann's Comment
It's a shame the father did not repossess the car. He didn't do his daughter any favors by allowing her to get away with this. I think his prior agreement to help pay for his daughter's wedding is void under the circumstances. "Sorry, honey. I love you, but I paid X amount of dollars for your car for four years. THAT MONEY CAME OUT OF YOUR WEDDING FUND. I guess you and your mom will need to plan something simple." I hope he has the guts. This girl desperately needs a wake-up call.

Maryann's Comment
Dad to daughter: "Sorry honey, the payments we made for four years on your car came out of your wedding fund. I guess you and your mom will have to plan something simple. Love you."

Reader Comment
Make your daughter pay for her own wedding! She didn’t pay you back!

Reader Comment
I paid my son's rent for over 3 1/2 years; paid half for his newer vehicle and then when I got fed up with his nasty attitude toward me and tried to distance myself from him, he's trying to get me committed and declared incompetent. He's 55 now and is berating me for leaving my "child". I have contributed to his adult life over $60,000.00 because I didn't want him to struggle as I always had to when he was young. Is this entitled, or what?

Grace Powell Harper 's Comment
He paid for her car . That's enough . She is lucky .

Ronnie's Comment
No reason Dad shouldn't deduct money paid for car from amount he would have paid for wedding. Daughter needs a wake-up call.

Reader Comment
I would deduct the car amount and give her a set amount for the wedding. If you agree to pay for half you may be shocked at how much half will end up being. I paid for my daughters college(85K)Wedding was on her.

Reader Comment
I think the dad is perfectly within his rights to do what he’s doing, but he should have let her and the ex wife know YEARS ago that he would not be financing her wedding because he was using that money to bail out his pathetic excuse for a daughter. He should have had the thing repossessed.

Hannah banana 's Comment
So dad paid for her car and now you want bim to pay for the wedding. What about when she sees a really nice house that is way out of budget for her and her hubby's salaries? I mean, dad's been carrying her this far, why not help take on an expensive down payment for her and when she needs money to make the payments each month, he should hand it over. Kids? Well, designer clothes, expensive daycare, then private schools, which dad will be expected to foot, because he has never told her no. I think her wedding is a perfect time to say no. Not "take the cost of the car out" because she will expect dad to help with other expenses. Just no. You're a big girl now. Learn how to budget.

Laura's Comment
Your daughter leveraged your credit rating to blackmail you for almost 12 grand. You owe her nothing.

Reader Comment
Offer to pay for the wedding--after deducting $11,316. Actions have consequences.

Reader Comment
I agree with Hannah banana's comment. Entitled trollops need to learn budgets and how to stick with them. Also, I believe the father should have repossessed the car once the inconsiderate nasty daughter stopped making payments. I, too have been a victim of an entitled child now in his 50's who has declared me as unfit to be a mother since I cut him off after paying his rent for years, buying vitamins

Me's Comment
Dad cosigned DAUGHTER’S loan, Daughter was jerk and knowingly stiffed him; he AND his second wife made four years of sacrifices to treat Daughter to the ENTIRE auto purchase — with Wife 1 never contributing a dime — and now globetrotting Daughter Dearest and Wife 1 want Dad to shell out for half that selfish, greedy girl’s nuptial-extravaganza weekend?!? And let me guess, Dad and/or his second wife had declined some prime investment opportunities in Daughter’s initial career years, as he wanted to give her a better start than he’d had. Now, of course, that he and his second wife are facing retirement or old age with less than they really need, or less than they’d prefer, they’re doing their level best to set aside the years of hurt feelings. So much for the brat’s or witch ex’s recognizing their epic generosity — much less praising it! Let’s hope Daughter Dearest or Dad winds up living in a state where grandparents have some rights: this girl’s callously used Dad’s love loyalty as a means of economic extortion. Of course this hasn’t been discussed, as Dad never even talks with the self-absorbed Bride-to-Be. But if Dad and his second wife don’t ante up now, Daughter Dearest may well withhold any children she’ll have. In any case, as Wife 1 has obviously been turning the screws — there’ll be room for all HER family and friends, count on it — this poor man’s apt to find he sees little of those eventual kids. Daughter Dearest AND Wife 1 sound like spiteful, controlling head cases.

CSC's Comment
You agreed that you and your ex-wife would "share the cost of a wedding", but you set no spending limit? That is virtually a blank check. Tell ex and daughter exactly how much money you will donate to her wedding fund. If you want to deduct the price you paid for her car, do so. She is an adult. Her beloved is an adult. They should shoulder much of the wedding's costs. They should also have a budget for a wedding suitable for their economic status. The more they have to pay, the more reasonable they will be.

Lenora 's Comment
I sure hope they go to marriage counselling. Marriage will be pointless if she can't manage money. I can't imagine why in 4 years she couldn't take back over the payments if she kept the car. IF you took the car that would be different, it became yours. Maybe treat them to a engagement dinner and explain, Money problems is the #1 cause for divorce in America. It's possible you could address it like this: Tell them, you want to bless their union, and want them to start off their marriage on a good foot, debt free to give them the best chance possible. We have decided in lieu of contributing to the party as we had planned to years ago, we are instead cancelling your Auto debt. We couldn't think of a better wedding gift. The ceremony is nice but the marriage is what counts. That way they have the information when they make the plans for the ceremony. We had a house wedding and are still together after 37 years.

Annie's Comment
Things change. This daughter didn't hold up her written agreement to pay for the car, so why should dad honor his prior oral agreement to pay for 1/2 of her wedding. (What agreement? That is what he should be saying.) Dad should say, "We are so a like. You didn't have to think you should pay for your car. I don't think I should have to pay for your wedding." I won't pay a cent towards the wedding especially if not done in good spirits. How much are we talking about? If it is only a couple of thousand, the issue may not be worth broaching. Now his daughter has a new vehicle and goes on a nice vacation. To me, it sounds like she either has money to spare and can pay for her own wedding or she is still spending recklessly beyond her budget. I would take the total wedding expenses, divide by 2, and subtract the car payments; if any amount is left, contribute that to the wedding. My guess is she would still owe money unless the wedding is huge. Also, lesson to be learned, a contract over the prior vehicle indebtedness for repayment would have been reasonable. Or, the car should have been given back to the dealer at a loss, paid for by dad, to be reimbursed by the daughter. Or, dad should have just taken the vehicle as he was making the payments on it. That is the only way a person learns financial responsibility. Obviously, this daughter has no intentions on paying back a debt to her dad. Why? Maybe, she thinks dad has more money than he does or she is entitled. Some children really have no concept that parents have financial obligations and paying off a child's debt is burdensome. Maybe, she needs to hear from dad that her car loan set them back and dad is still recovering; hence, no contributions to her wedding unless she repays that debt. If the daughter has a new car, what was the value of her trade in? Shouldn't dad have received at least that amount back? Don't worry about this wedding, this daughter doesn't hold up written agreements, so her oral wedding vows are probably also worthless. Just like dad, the daughter will have another wedding, maybe even more. Dad and daughter are more a like than one may think.

Reader Comment
Let the daughter and her Mom pay!!!! Your daughter feels entitled!

Reader Comment
I agree that once the daughter defaulted on her agreement to pay for the automobile, the father should have repossessed the car. Teaching young people responsibility is the duty of the parents. The father is not obligated to pay for the wedding, but be aware that this may damage the daughter-father relationship. Perhaps a compromise is to provide a small but meaningful donation towards the wedding (the amount up to you $1000-2000?) and thereby have the ability to say you did contribute, you honored your word, but you would not be compelled to finance a ceremony with uncertain costs.

A. Nonymous's Comment
You don’t learn nuthin’ the second time you’re kicked by a mule!
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"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."
-Ann Landers