Cars are often some of the largest pieces of personal property in a divorce and subject to division. Spouses need to understand what Arizona law has to say about dividing vehicles in divorce. If the parties cannot agree, the court must determine how to award the vehicles.
Does the name on the title determine who gets the car in a divorce?
The person whose name is on the title does not necessarily get the car in a divorce. It is a marital asset. Even if it is in only one party’s name, it is still joint property and subject to asset distribution by the court.
First, the court determines the approximate value of the vehicle. That value is counted toward the party who receives it. However, the value of a vehicle is subject to any loans or other debt that may exist on the vehicle. It isn’t fair to credit the value of a vehicle to a party without also subtracting existing debt. When the court determines the value of a vehicle, they generally balance out the award with property awarded to the other spouse.
The most common practice is to award each person the vehicle that they typically drive. If a parent needs the vehicle to drive minor children in a case involving custody, that may weigh in that party’s favor. If one vehicle is worth a lot more than the other, the court must figure out how to make up the difference to the spouse or justify a division of property that isn’t exactly equal. However, if the parties are able to agree, they can make any settlements they want for how to divide up their vehicles and other personal property.
Determining how to divide a car in a divorce
Understanding how cars are divided in divorce can help the parties pursue settlement or prepare their case for trial. It’s important to gather evidence of the approximate value of the car, which an attorney may help with. Dividing vehicles is only one part of a case. Other personal property, real estate and financial accounts may also be a part of determining how to properly divide assets in divorce.