Hello, I would like to know if one spouse purchases a motorcycle without the consent of the other partner, are both responsible for the payments.

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Hello, I would like to know if one spouse purchases a motorcycle without the consent of the other partner, are both responsible for the payments.

Asked on May 9, 2009 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

There are two different questions here, and I'm not sure which of the two you're asking, if not both.

Between you and the company that sold the motorcycle, or made the loan for the purchase, you have no liability.  It's possible, though, that your husband signed your name to the loan without your permission, which would make it necessary to prove that and get your name off the loan.

If you have a settlement agreement between you and your husband, or if either of you has already filed for divorce, the answer depends on when the loan was taken out.  If the loan came after the divorce was filed with the court -- not the date that you signed the papers, but the date that the court stamped on them-- or the date of your settlement agreement, then the loan is not your problem, because the motorcycle and the loan are your husband's separate asset and debt.  Otherwise, the motorcycle and the loan are subject to equitable distribution.  Typically, in any divorce judgment or settlement, whoever gets the motorcycle will get the loan as well.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

You live in an equitable distribution state.  Usually, unless the debt incurred is for necessity like food, clothing or shelter,  you are not responsible for that debt.  However, this is usually only true during divorce proceedings or if your husband specifically had a provision placed in the contract to which the vendor agreed to not include you as a responsible party.  Otherwise, consider it a marital debt.

So let's say you were getting a divorce.  Property in an equitable distribution state would be divided equally unless you can show this debt for example doesn't belong to you.

 

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