Who gets the car in a divorce?

Divorce presents a host of financial considerations for both parties. One of these difficult choices involves who will maintain vehicle ownership and responsibility after the ink has dried on the divorce decree.

Determining who will keep a car during a divorce is a matter with several legal considerations, including overarching property valuations and determination of each party’s rights to the vehicle.

Equitable division of marital property

Property division is an often complex process for divorcing couples. The courts consider the value of assets acquired during a marriage and seek to divide property according to standards deemed fair and equitable.

This equitable distribution is not always according to monetary value. Rather, if both parties cannot determine a fair division on their own, the courts divide marital property in a way it deems fair, but not automatically equal, to both spouses.

Determining a vehicle’s value

The asset value of a family’s vehicle depends on its fair market value on the date of separation. A blue book value or local appraisal can determine a dollar amount for the car, which plays a role in the final decision. The division of assets may find one party entitled to the vehicle should its value match what the other party receives in other marital property.

However, a vehicle’s monetary value is only one factor in a judge’s decision as to who should possess it after a divorce. The legal owner or name on the title, who needs or uses the vehicle regularly and any advance agreements also come into the court’s deliberations.

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