You and your spouse have come to the decision that filing for divorce is the best answer to your irreconcilable differences. Soon you will be navigating the waters of the divorce process and that can prove to be an arduous and challenging journey. The map to divorce differs from state to state, but one resemblant condition is at some point there will be a split of marital property. It all boils down to what state you are in and how the judge divides the assets. The division of marital property is one of the most contested areas of the divorce process.
The uncertainty comes in how your assets will be divided between the two of you: Who gets the house? Am I going to be required to pay alimony? Who will get the kids? Do I get to keep my car? While we cannot address the laws of each state let’s take a look at some common ground involving the division of assets relating to divorce and your car.
What will the court do about the divorce and your car?
It is common practice when dividing martial assets for the court to attempt to prevent disparities, except in the case of a prenuptial agreement, such as one spouse receiving all of the vehicles and the other spouse receiving none. A prenuptial agreement is an agreement made between a man and a woman before marrying in which they give up future rights to each others property in the event of divorce or death (Merriam-Webster).
So, if you signed a prenuptial agreement stating one spouse will obtain ownership of all of the vehicles in the case of a divorce, then chances are the judge will uphold that agreement. Also, in some states, if one spouse owned the vehicles prior to the marriage, that spouse may be allowed to keep all of the vehicles even without a prenuptial agreement addressing divorce and your car.
Your car was given to you by your parents prior to your marriage, however, your soon to be ex-spouse wants the car. Does your spouse have any right to it? Will the car be considered marital property? As mentioned above, although the laws can vary from state to state, it is common practice that whatever one party brings to the marriage, receives as a gift or inherits is considered to be that party’s separate, non-marital property and would be returned by the court to the proper party prior to the division of the marital property. (Jason Bowman, Cordell & Cordell Louisville, KY)
You got your divorce and your car, now what?
The judge awarded each of you your respective cars and the divorce decree states that you are each responsible for your own vehicle and any debt associated with the vehicle. The only problem is that your name is on the title and the loan of your ex-spouse’s car. What happens if your ex-spouse doesn’t make the payments? How do you remove your name from the title? What if your ex is involved in an accident and your name is on the car, can you be liable? What do you do about the car insurance? What if you are ordered to pay for your ex’s car payments and your ex remarries? Are you required to continue to make the payments?
There are so many circumstances that can arise from the distribution of marital property, most of which no one considers until there is a problem. We will address many of these situations in future articles including providing you with the answers to the questions regarding divorce and your car.
If you are concerned that you might be left car-less after your divorce, you may want to talk to an attorney about your situation and how state laws could affect your divorce and your car.