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Who Keeps The Car In A Florida Divorce?


A lot of married couples pool their resources and property when they tie the knot, which means that over time, they are often able to achieve a higher standard of living with their dual incomes. Unfortunately, when couples end a marriage, they must usually adjust that standard again, as not only will their household income be reduced, but they will also need to split up the property they acquired while married. Of these assets that were shared, but must now be divided, vehicles often top the list of the most valuable or the most burdened by debt.

Keeping the Car 

While many spouses split their ownership interest in a vehicle, it is also not uncommon for a car to be registered only to one spouse, or to be insured in that person’s name. In these cases, when a couple divorces and there are two vehicles, each party often retains ownership of the vehicle that is in their own name. Alternatively, the spouse who uses the vehicle more could decide to keep it, but could be required to compensate the other spouse for its value. In these situations, the party who keeps the car usually ends up refinancing it, so that the owner of record can be changed and responsibility for the loan can be transferred to that person.

When deciding who, if anyone will retain a vehicle, it’s important for the parties to consider their future plans and lifestyles after divorce. Perhaps one of the parties requires a truck for work, or another might need a vehicle that can transport all of the kids. Taking these aspects into account can help couples reach a decision that best serves both their needs.

Selling the Vehicle 

Because sharing a car isn’t really feasible for most couples, if two parties aren’t able to agree on who will retain a vehicle after divorce, then the other option is to sell it and split the proceeds. It’s important to note, however, that doing so will require both parties’ written consents or the courts authorization. This is because initiating a divorce is typically followed by a temporary injunction, barring either party from selling off marital assets without permission. This ensures that one spouse doesn’t start getting rid of belongings that the other spouse wishes to keep. Once such permission has been granted, the couples will need to determine the fair market value of that vehicle. Only when this has been obtained should a couple sell the car and then divide up the proceeds.

Mediation or Collaborative Divorce 

Issues like who will retain which asset upon divorce can be difficult to navigate and it is often the parties themselves who are best able to reach an agreement on these matters. To avoid leaving the decision up to a judge, who may not fully understand a couple’s unique situation, divorcing couples should, when possible, do their best to reach a settlement agreement on their own. This can be achieved through mediation or collaborative divorce, both of which leave decision-making power about property-related issues in the hands of couples themselves.

Set Up a Free Consultation Today 

To speak with an experienced Florida property division lawyer about the fate of your own family car during divorce, please call Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.



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