Issues That May Arise When Dividing A Car During A Divorce

If you wish to keep your car after divorce, you should know how courts generally divide cars during a divorce. The following are some of the things likely to come up during the divorce.


The first thing will be for the court to classify the car as either marital or separate property. You get to keep your separate property while you divide the marital property. For example, if you inherited the car from your grandfather, then it is your separate property, and the court won't divide it. However, if you bought the car while you were married, then it is marital property, and you have to divide it with your partner. The classification the car will fall under depends on the nature of the property and your state laws.

Use during Marriage

If the car is marital property and you have to divide it, then the judge will probably consider the use of the car during the marriage. You are likely to keep the car if you are the one who mostly used it during the marriage. Maybe you have a long commute on a route without good public transportation, and you used the car for your commute.

Number of Cars

Your chances of keeping the car are great if you used it during marriage and your partner has another car that they also used. Say you have an SUV that you used for your commute and your partner, who is a stay-at-home parent, mostly drove a pickup truck for their errands, you are likely to keep the SUV. However, your chances of keeping the SUV are reduced if it's the only car you own.

Value of Cars

If you own multiple cars, their value will also come under scrutiny during the division. You cannot just walk away with an expensive luxury car while your partner keeps an inexpensive compact car without some sort of compensation. If you want to keep the expensive car, then you have to compensate your partner in some way.  For example, you may compensate them via other assets from your share of marital assets. The compensation route may also work if you only have one car and you wish to keep it.


Divorcing while still servicing a car loan presents a challenge to the spouse who doesn't get the car. This is because the auto financer will hold both of you responsible for the car loan, which is unfair to the spouse who doesn't keep the car. For many couples, the solution is to refinance the car loan in the name of the spouse who gets to keep the car so that they are the one solely responsible for the repayments.

For more information, contact a lawyer like Diane Dramko, Attorney At Law