What to Do with Your Car Title After Divorce
In a divorce, the division of assets can be a complex and emotional process. Among these assets, cars and other vehicles are often considered marital property and need to be divided between the spouses. However, if you share a vehicle with your spouse, it can lead to additional questions and challenges. This article will guide you through the process of how cars are split up in divorce and what to do with the car title after the separation.
In Divorce: How to Handle Cars and Car Titles
Understanding Marital Assets and Cars
In a divorce, marital assets refer to the property acquired during the marriage. Cars and other vehicles are typically considered marital assets, especially if they were purchased while the couple was together. When it comes to shared vehicles, the division can become more complicated, and it’s essential to approach the process with clarity.
Identifying Car Ownership
The first step in handling a car during a divorce is to determine who holds the car title. If the car is solely in your spouse’s name, some states still consider it a marital asset if it was acquired during the marriage. However, if the car was owned by your ex-spouse before the marriage, they might be entitled to keep the title in their name.
Decision Making Before Divorce Finalization
It’s possible to reach an agreement on car ownership before the divorce is finalized. You and your spouse can decide together who gets the car and document it in the separation agreement. However, if the divorce is contentious, reaching an agreement may not be easy, and the court may need to decide on the car’s division. Seeking guidance from a divorce finance expert can be beneficial in this situation.
Impact of State Laws on Car Division
The state in which you reside can influence the division of the marital car. In equitable distribution states, the judge aims to divide the property fairly based on various factors, such as who primarily uses the vehicle. On the other hand, in community property states, marital assets, including the car, are typically divided equally. A list of community property states includes Texas, California, Nevada, Wisconsin, Louisiana, New Mexico, Idaho, Washington, and Arizona.
Handling Joint Car Loans in Divorce
If you and your spouse have a joint car loan, the lender will still consider it a joint responsibility even after the divorce. For instance, if the judge awards you the car, both parties remain liable if payments are missed. Refinancing the loan to remove an ex-spouse’s name from the title can be challenging. However, a statement in the divorce decree can grant you the authority to take possession of the car if your ex-spouse defaults on payments.
Updating Car Titles After Divorce
Transferring a car title to the other spouse or removing an ex-spouse from the title can be relatively straightforward. You’ll need to visit the state DMV with the car title and, if applicable, a lien release document. Some states may accept a copy of the divorce decree as proof of the transfer. However, you might require your ex-spouse’s signature on the title, depending on the state’s requirements.
dealing with cars and car titles during a divorce requires careful consideration and understanding of state laws. By identifying car ownership, reaching agreements, and following the correct procedures for title updates, you can navigate this process with greater ease. Remember, consulting with professionals can be helpful during this challenging time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can I sell my car during my divorce?
A: If you purchased the car before the marriage began, you may be able to sell it during the divorce. However, if the vehicle was acquired during the marriage, both spouses need to agree to the sale, and the proceeds will likely be split.
Q: What if my spouse refuses to sign the car over to me?
A: If the divorce decree states that the car should be transferred to you, your ex-spouse must comply. If they don’t, you can seek legal recourse and ask the court to enforce the decree.