Who Gets to Keep the Car in a Divorce in California?

Do you want to know who gets to keep the car when you divorce?  Household budgets are strained, forcing most families to make hard financial decisions. Some families have become households with one car or using public transportation to get around. If the marriage ends up in divorce, the couple must choose who keeps the car. Property division in divorce is one of the most highly contested issues in the divorce. The answer is based on the property laws in California. Speak to one of our family law attorneys for a free attorney consultation and learn what property is yours!

Property Division in a Divorce

Since it is chosen at a state level, property division in divorce could be a tricky thing. If the couple is in agreement about how property will be distributed, they are permitted to make these choices on their own. But retaining a family law attorney is the best way to make sure that property is divided according to the law. A trained and experienced divorce attorney should let you know about the roles of property division in divorce and how to get you what you deserve!

Many states follow common law guidelines regarding property. If one spouse bought and paid for the car completely, this individual is the owner. If both spouses have their names on the car title, each is considered fifty percent owner. In states that follow the community property laws, property received during the marriage is divided evenly during divorce. This does not include property that was an inheritance or obtained before the marriage. Community property laws view husband and wife as equal contributors to the marriage so the court strives to distribute property equitably.

Even though this process sounds simple, it could be very complicated, especially when both spouses want to keep the family vehicle. In a community property state, the spouse who makes the strongest case will be the winner. For instance, the spouse can emphasize that the car is needed for commuting purposes because public transportation is not available and walking is not feasible. A stay-at-home mom could stress that she needs the car to drive kids to school and transport them to activities and medical appointments.

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If one individual made a more substantial down payment on the car or made most of the loan or lease payments, that could sway the court to give the car to that person during divorce. If the vehicle was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage and that individual made all loan payments, it will most likely be awarded to that person. But the other spouse might be entitled to something of equal value.

Fights over the family car can turn ugly, with one spouse taking it away and not returning it. To stop the situation from reaching this point, you should talk to a family law attorney. We know how to handle the fair division of individual and marital property in divorce without the situation ending in an argument. 

Do you have a question about divorce laws in California? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration