If a vehicle is in both names of a married couple, does one spouse have the legal right to trade it in at a dealership?

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If a vehicle is in both names of a married couple, does one spouse have the legal right to trade it in at a dealership?

Asked on August 19, 2010 under Family Law, Oregon

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No.  The vehicle is both of yours and can not be traded in without both of your consent.  However, are both names on the title?  I am surprised that the dealership took the car as a trade in but if the title is only in the name of the spouse that did the dealing then I can see what happened. I am going to assume that because you wrote this question under the heading of "divorce" that you and your spouse are not on the best of terms.  The title to an asset does not necessarily matter in an action for divorce.  The court determines - if the parties can not agree - what is or is not a marital asset.  Getting rid of or "dissipating" marital assets prior to distribution is a big no no.  Oregon is a Community Property state too so assets are split 50/50.  Seek help from an attorney in your area to notify the dealership.  Good luck.


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