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What Happens to Motor Vehicles During a Divorce?

Because cars and other motor vehicles are among the more valuable assets you may own, you’re likely wondering who gets to keep them in a divorce. If you purchased the car yourself before the marriage, then this is a simple matter — the car does not qualify as a marital asset and is not subject to property division.

But what about vehicles purchased with marital funds or that have both spouse’s names on the title?

Making the decision yourself

Most divorces are settled long before they go to a trial, so you’ll likely have a significant say in how the vehicles are divided. If there is more than one car, you and your spouse may tend to drive one vehicle more frequently than the other. This would likely make it a fairly simple decision-making process — you would each take the car you drive most often.

If there is only one vehicle and your case does go to court, you will need to demonstrate why the best outcome would be for you to end up with the vehicle. Evidence might include a need to use it to transport children to and from school and activities or to get to and from work.

If you do get to keep a vehicle that is worth more than is owed on it, you may need to compensate your spouse for a portion of its worth, whether that means giving cash or giving up some other assets of corresponding value in the divorce.

Other issues to keep in mind

It is important to remember that any change in ownership of the vehicle must be reflected in the vehicle’s title and auto insurance policy. Make sure that, after your divorce is complete, you update these documents. You may also need to refinance the loan (if one exists) to put it solely in your name.

For further guidance on what happens to vehicles during a divorce, speak with a skilled Minnesota divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

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