Going through a divorce is bad enough, but losing your cherished automobile can be enough to send you over the cliff. Whether you are a car enthusiast, car collector, or just very fond of the family car, you want to make sure you come out of the divorce with the keys. If this is your situation, we have some information that should prove helpful over the course of your divorce.
Firstly, it is important to establish when the car came into your possession. Was this your car before entering the marriage or was it acquired during the marriage. If, by chance, the car was already in your possession prior to being married, the law is in your favor (at least it is in most states). However, if it was acquired during the marriage, it may be time to negotiate with your future ex.
Another scenario that would benefit you was if the car was a gift or inherited. For instance, a wealthy client decides to give you a car for your birthday as a thank you for a job well done. Or, perhaps, Uncle Harry left you the 1966 Mustang that you have been drooling over for years in his will. This, also, can work against you if the gift was given to your spouse but he or she was not interested in it and you ended up being the one to fall in love with the car.
Many states will also honor the 10-year rule. This benefits anyone that has been in a marriage for less than 10 years. The basis of the rule is to put each spouse in a position relative to where they would have been today had they not been married. So, if you bought that corvette with your money in year two of the marriage and in year five are standing in front of the judge, you have a very good chance of keeping the car. However, forget about the Mercedes if you have you been married for 15 years unless it can be negotiated for during the divorce process.
Not all is lost, though, for even those where the odds are not in your favor. This is why it is important to try to be civil during a divorce and keep the lines of communications open. If you do not want to be around your spouse, which is very reasonable, negotiate through your divorce attorney. If the car is that important, you can concede other assets that your soon-to-be ex may deem more valuable. “You can have X, Y, and Z as long as I get to keep my Porsche.”
In many cases, you may find the law is already on your side and will enable you to keep your car during a divorce. However, even in those cases where it does not automatically come to you, you can appraise the vehicle as well as other assets and negotiate it into the settlement. And, of course, if you need help with your divorce, we would love to represent you. Give us a call today to see how we can help you keep your car!