Want to know who gets to keep the car when you divorce? Household budgets are tight, forcing many families to make difficult financial decisions. Some families have become single-car households, carpooling or using public transportation to get around. If the marriage ends in divorce, the couple must decide who keeps the car. Property division in divorce is one of the most highly contested issues in a divorce. The answer is based on the property laws in the state of residence. Speak to one of our family law attorneys for a free attorney consultation and find out what property is yours!
Property Division In Divorce
Since it is determined at a state level, property division in divorce can be a tricky thing. If the couple is in agreement about how property will be divided, they are permitted to make these decisions on their own. However, retaining a family law attorney is the best way to ensure that property is divided according to the law. A trained and experienced divorce attorney will let you know about the roles of property division in divorce and how to get you what you deserve!
Most states follow common law guidelines regarding property. If one spouse purchased and paid for the car completely, that individual is the owner. If both spouses have their names on the title, each is considered 50 percent owner. In states that follow community property laws, property acquired during a marriage is divided evenly during divorce. This excludes property that was an inheritance, gift, or obtained before the marriage. Community property laws view spouses as equal contributors to the marriage so the court strives to distribute property equitably.
Though this process sounds simple, it can be very complicated, especially when both spouses want to keep the family vehicle. In a community property state, the individual who makes the strongest case will be the winner. For example, the individual can emphasize that the vehicle is needed for commuting purposes because public transportation is not available and walking is not feasible. A stay-at-home mother could stress that she needs the car to drive children to school and transport them to activities and medical appointments.
If one spouse made a more substantial down payment on the vehicle or made most of the loan or lease payments, that could sway the court to award the car to that person during divorce. If the car was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage and that individual made all loan payments, it will probably be awarded to that person. However, the other spouse may be entitled to something of equal value.
Fights over the family vehicle can turn ugly, with one spouse taking it and not returning it. To prevent the situation from reaching this point, talk to a family law attorney. This legal professional knows how to handle the fair division of individual and marital property in divorce without the situation ending in an argument. Speaking with one of our attorneys for the free family law help that you deserve is as easy as picking up the phone and giving us a call!