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Who keeps a financed vehicle during a West Virginia divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Divorce

Dividing marital property is a major challenge during a divorce. Spouses in West Virginia have the right to an equitable share of the marital estate. If they do not have a pre-existing agreement with one another discussing how they intend to share marital property, spouses can negotiate a settlement or take the matter to family court.

Assets that have more overall worth, and those that play an important role in someone’s daily life, can easily trigger conflicts during divorce negotiations. Frequently, assets that are valuable enough to require financing may lead to conflict between spouses. For example, people often disagree about how to handle their homes when they divorce. They may also share responsibility for a vehicle that they purchased with a loan.

Which spouse keeps a financed vehicle after a West Virginia divorce?

Title records aren’t all that matter

It is common for people purchasing a vehicle during marriage to only include one spouse’s name on the title documents for the vehicle. Just because the vehicle is in the name of one spouse does not automatically mean that specific spouse gets to keep the vehicle after the divorce.

Factors including the need for the vehicle, the custody of minor children and even the ability to afford refinancing can influence who keeps the vehicle after the divorce. It may be necessary to refinance the financial instrument attached to the vehicle to remove one spouse from the ownership records.

Unlike with houses, where withdrawing equity is a possible solution in property division proceedings, it may not be realistic to refinance to withdraw the equity accrued in a vehicle when refinancing the loan attached to it. The spouse not retaining the vehicle may be able to ask for compensation in the form of other assets. Other times, it could be the allocation of marital debts that balances out one party’s retention of a finance vehicle. The amount of equity accrued in the vehicle, the other assets in the marital estate and the resources of each spouse can all factor into decisions about a vehicle in the West Virginia divorce.

Preparing for property division proceedings might entail carefully reviewing resources and financial obligations. People who identify their most valuable assets may be able to prepare themselves to negotiate for the best outcome possible.