If in our divorce my wife was awarded the car aslong as she keep up the payments, what happens if she didn’t andI had to pay to get it back?

Been separated since 03/09. Papers state that she would get the car providing that she kept up on the payments. She didn’t; car was repossessed. I got caught up on the payments and got the car out of repossessed. Now she wants the car but I don’t want to give it to her because she didn’t hold up her end of the separation agreement regarding this. Does she still have rights to the car?

Asked on July 25, 2010 under Family Law, Maryland


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A separation agreement is a contract.  It spells out the rights and obligations of the parties therein.  Generally, it is not a good idea to alter the contract without the oversight of the courts.  In other words, although your wife appears to be in breach of the agreement regarding the payments, the car is still awarded to HER.  Your actions, although noble, were not really "sanctioned" by a court and do not, at this point, allow you to keep the car.  You have to either alter the agreement or ask for the court to modify it for you.  It is likely that the courts will let you keep the car but you really do not want to be held in violation of anything.  Seek legal help. Good luck. 

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