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2 potential issues concerning financed vehicles in a West Virginia divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2023 | Divorce

With the exception of buying a home, buying a vehicle is one of the biggest purchases people make. Many adults finance their vehicles because they need transportation now and don’t have enough money in savings to buy a high-quality vehicle outright. Financed vehicles are convenient and common, but they can also lead to challenges if married couples with financed vehicles decide that they want to divorce.

These are the two primary concerns people may need to address in West Virginia divorce if there is a loan attached to one or more of their vehicles.

Retention of the vehicle

Sometimes, both spouses share one vehicle because their schedules and transportation means are different enough to allow for one vehicle for the whole household. Other times, one spouse may drive the vehicle, but the other may have made most of the payments on it. Typically, because West Virginia focuses on the fair division of marital property, the equity in the vehicle will be part of the pool of marital property that people need to split. However, for some couples, keeping the vehicle may be more important to both spouses than getting part of its value in the divorce.

Responsibility for the loan

Financed vehicles can cost hundreds of dollars a month and they put strain on a household budget if someone must suddenly adjust from a two-income household to living on only their own paycheck. It is common for one spouse to make more than the other and to have a better credit score than the other, which may mean that the person on the loan currently isn’t actually the person who drives the vehicle. Sorting out responsibility for the financial instrument attached to the vehicle can be as challenging as deciding who keeps the vehicle itself. People may struggle to qualify for good financing terms on their own, especially if they don’t have much recent work history.

Couples that quickly resolve the issues related to their biggest assets, like their vehicles, will generally have an easier time navigating their divorce. Identifying the assets that may create divorce challenges early in the process may make it easier for someone to rebuild their life after a West Virginia divorce.