Similarly to homes and dwellings, vehicles, such as cars, trucks, vans, and even the occasional motorcycle, are often the subject of disputes in many, many divorce cases. Sometimes one spouse feels that they are entitled to keeping it, while the other wants to sell the vehicle and, very amicably, would be willing to split the profit, although sometimes there is a belief that they themselves are solely entitled to the money. Another scenario that is quite common is that one of the spouses will be paying a monthly lease for the car, yet it is their partner that is the one mainly driving the car, and since they will no longer be together, they don’t want to pay for their ex to have a car.
The courts use a very general set of circumstances to decide on how this problem will be resolved, with different situations resulting in a potentially different outcome. For instance, whether the vehicle was acquired during the marriage or before the marriage makes a big difference. If it was purchased prior to the couple getting married, then the purchaser would have a very substantial argument that the vehicle is not considered marital property. However, if the car was purchased during the marriage, there is a high probability that the court will deem it as marital property, and therefore it will most likely be subject to distribution in the divorce. While this does not necessarily mean you will lose complete ownership of the vehicle, it is now in the hands of the court to decide. If the car was a gift from one spouse to the other, then the courts find that gifts are considered separate property, and therefore it will not be subject to distribution.
The money used to purchase the car also makes a big difference to the court. For example, if the funds used to buy the car were separate funds of one of the spouses, then again, they would have a very compelling case that the car is not considered marital property, and not up to be divided. However, it also stands that if the funds used were deemed to be marital funds, then consequently the car is also going to be considered marital property.