Who Keeps the Cars During and After Divorce?

Who Keeps the Cars During and After Divorce?Vehicles are important properties to decide on during your divorce. The division can be relatively simple if you each have one vehicle that you primarily use. You can likely agree on who gets each vehicle without needing a divorce court to make the decision for you. However, issues related to your marital vehicles are not always simple.

Possession During the Divorce

Each of you will need to access and use your vehicles during your divorce. Unfortunately, spouses sometimes try to hurt each other by:

  • Taking away a vehicle;
  • Trying to sell a vehicle; or
  • Canceling their spouse’s vehicle insurance coverage.

You can file for a financial restraining order to stop your spouse from taking actions that would prevent you from accessing or using your vehicle. If granted, the order should last for the duration of the divorce process. It may also help for you to create a vehicle insurance policy that is separate from your spouse.

Distributing Vehicles

The decision of who gets to keep a vehicle becomes more consequential if there is only one vehicle from the marriage. With multiple vehicles, spouses can also disagree about which vehicle they each should have. If you cannot decide on who should keep a vehicle, the divorce court will award the vehicle to the person it believes has the strongest claim to it. Factors that the court will consider include:

  • Who uses the vehicle most often;
  • Whether one party needs the vehicle to transport the children; and
  • Whether one party relies on the vehicle for employment or performing specific tasks.

If there is only one vehicle in the marriage, the spouse who receives the vehicle will have to compensate the other spouse with properties of equitable value. With two vehicles, compensation may not be necessary unless there is a great disparity in the value of the two vehicles.

Ownership After Divorce

When you keep a vehicle after your divorce, documents related to the vehicle should reflect that you are the sole owner, including:

  • The vehicle title;
  • Your insurance policy for the vehicle; and
  • The vehicle loan agreement.

Not updating these documents could cause confusion in the future. If the vehicle title is still under your former spouse’s name and he or she files for bankruptcy, his or her creditors may try to seize your vehicle as collateral. You also need to make sure that you are not listed on your former spouse’s vehicle loan so that debt collectors do not come after you if your former spouse defaults on the debt.

Keeping Your Car

The distribution of your marital vehicles is a decision that you and your spouse should both be able to feel satisfied with. A Kane County divorce attorney at Geneva Family Lawyers will make sure that the distribution fits within the equitable division of property. To schedule a free consultation, call 331-588-6611.



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