How can I figure out if money is owed to me by my soon-to-be ex-husband for his car that is community property, if the are still payments on it?

My soon to be ex-husband purchased a car while we were married and it is in name and he continues to drive it and make the payments. Therefore, it is community property. My car however, was leased in his name and the lease is now up and I no longer have a car. I was wondering if I have any rights to his car or if he should have to pay me any money for it since he is keeping it?

Asked on August 2, 2012 under Family Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you both have rights to the car and he should have to pay you money.  Under the law you have a righ to all community property "in-kind," meaning that you literally have a right to half of the object.  Now, I know that is impossible with the car, but that's why a judge has the right to award property to one spouse or the other or force it to be sold. 

If you are in agreement that he is to keep the car, then he has to make what is considered a "property equalization" payment equal to your half interest in the car's equity.  Basically take the Kelly blue book value subtract the debt owed, get the equity amount, divide that in half and you get your share to be equalized.  You have to do that with all community property that is divied up. 

You are also most likely entitled to support and to having your attorneys fees or a portion of them paid for by your husband.  You should really speak with a local family law attorney to help guide you through this process because it can make a huge difference in the outcome. 

If you are in the Ventura County area feel free to contact me.

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