What Happens to Vehicles After a Divorce?


Next to the marital home and any retirement accounts, vehicles tend to be the most fought over asset during a Pasadena divorce.

It's important to remember that vehicles are not necessarily the property of the person who holds the title. Even if one spouse has a sole title to the vehicle, California might consider it marital property. Marital property belongs to both spouses equally and needs to be divided during the divorce.

Checking an automotive Blue Book can help you determine the value of your vehicle. If you want to keep a vehicle that is marital property, you'll need to provide cash or an asset of equal value to your spouse.

If there is a loan on the vehicle, you will need to refinance in one person's name only or pay off the loan in full using other marital assets. Keeping both names on the loan is not recommended because both parties will be held liable for missed payments regardless of what the divorce decree says.

Once a new title has been obtained listing the name of the person who will be keeping the vehicle, it's time to get a new car insurance policy. Typically, the first named insured keeps the current auto policy and the other spouse gets to shop around for a new policy. However, you can't remove your ex-spouse or his/her vehicle from a car insurance policy without consent. Consent is usually given via a signed removal form. The person being removed also needs to have a new policy for their vehicle in place before removing the current coverage.

Keep in mind that it's fairly common for auto insurance rates to rise after divorce. Singles lose eligibility for certain types of discounts, such as a multiple car discount. If you're moving, you might be charged a higher rate based on your new address. If your credit score took a hit during the divorce, this is another reason your insurance rates might go up.

How Can We Help?

As with other property division issues, it's best to contact an experienced attorney if you have questions. Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our Pasadena family law firm can help make sure that you receive a fair settlement as quickly and painlessly as possible.