How to handle your car title after a divorce
You and your spouse will need to divide any assets you consider “marital assets” during divorce proceedings. Most cases view cars and other similar vehicles as marital property. Splitting assets should not be difficult if you have separate vehicles. There are more questions if you have a shared vehicle.
What happens to cars when they are divided during divorce proceedings?
It is important to determine who owns the title to a vehicle. This could be your spouse or you both. Most states consider the title marital property even if it is in the name of your spouse, unless the vehicle was bought during marriage. Your ex could keep the title if the car was in your name before marriage.
Remember that you have the option of deciding what to do with your car before your divorce is finalized. You and your spouse could agree to the ownership of the car together, which could be included in your separation agreement. However, it is possible that you and your spouse may not be able to agree on the vehicle if your divorce is contentious. In such a situation, the court would determine who gets the vehicle.
What does my state have to do with who gets the car?
Your state may have an impact on who gets the martial vehicle, depending on whether you live in an equitable distribution state or community property state. The judge must distribute the property fairly if you live in an equitable state. This decision is made on the basis of many factors, such as who drives the vehicle most.
If the spouses agree to a different way of dividing the property, marital assets or property in a community property state are generally divided in half. Nine states are community property states.
- New Mexico
A car cannot be divided in half so the judge will decide who gets it in a community property status. They will also give the other spouse the property of equal or similar value to keep the divorce fair.
What happens to a joint vehicle loan during a divorce?
It is important to know that a joint vehicle loan will continue to be considered a joint loan if you and your spouse divorce. If the judge grants you the car, the lender can still pursue both of them if they fail to make payments. Most lenders won’t refinance loans to remove an ex’s name from the title.
If you are the spouse who has been granted the vehicle, and you want to ensure that they continue to pay the loan, you can have a statement in your divorce decree granting you the right to take possession of your spouse’s car if she fails to pay. You can also ask the judge for contempt if your spouse fails to pay the required car payments.
How can you make your car more modern after a divorce?
The process of transferring your car’s title from one person or changing from a joint title only to one spouse is quite simple. First, you’ll need to bring the title to the DMV. Bring a lien release form with you to the DMV if liens are on your car’s title. If a judge grants you the car, many states will accept a standard copy the divorce decree as proof. You may need to have your ex-spouse sign the title. Before you submit the document to DMV, you will need to sign it. The DMV in your state will issue you a new title. (Make sure to have proof of your auto insurance.
Transferring a car to your ex-spouse
Your ex-spouse must apply for a new title if you have been given an order to transfer a joint title. To sign the title, you can indicate your approval of the transfer.
Remove your ex-spouse’s name from your car title
To remove your ex-spouse’s name from a car you have in your possession, follow the directions above in reverse. Take the completed car title to the DMV. You and your ex may have to sign the title in front of a notary. However, most states will accept a divorce decree to prove that the vehicle has been transferred from one spouse.
FAQs about divorce and car titles
Can I sell my car in the middle of a divorce?
If you bought your vehicle before the marriage, you may be able sell it during divorce proceedings. Any vehicle that was purchased during marriage is marital property. Your spouse must agree to sell the vehicle in this case. If divorce proceedings are ongoing, you would be responsible for paying half the proceeds to your spouse.
The title of the car will determine who gets it after a divorce. You can sell your car at any time if a joint title to the vehicle has been transferred to you. Selling a car with a loan is not easy. You and your spouse would both be responsible for the payments until the loan is fully paid off. If your lender agrees, you can have your ex-spouse removed from the loan.
What happens if my spouse refuses me to hand the car over?
If your ex-spouse refuses signing the car over, legal recourse is available. Your ex-spouse must comply with the divorce decree if the car was ordered to be handed over. You can request that the judge hold your ex-partner in contempt of court. If the judge grants your request, you can take the vehicle from your ex-partner, impose fines on him, or demand that he pay your attorney fees.