In a separation, how do I ensure my wife will pay the payments for a car that is in my name?

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In a separation, how do I ensure my wife will pay the payments for a car that is in my name?

My wife and I are separated and she is in NJ and I am now in FL. I have a car that she drives in my name. She says she will make the payments. How do I protect myself that she will make the payments? I don’t want to take car away from her.

Asked on August 10, 2010 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately there are really no guarantees.  This is a common problem in divorce situations where a party is awarded an asset that is in the other spouse's name and the party awarded it defaults, ruining the credit of the other spouse and basically throwing the asset away as it is repossessed.  The only way to guarantee that she will make the payments is to refinance it in her name only.  The common problem there is that the finance company does not have to comply with your request.  I understand that you do not want to take the car away from her.  Then I would suggest that you make a deal as to your making the payments in exchange for the distribution to you of another asset in the divorce.  But remember that you may still bear liability in the event of an accident with it in your name. This is a balancing act.  Make sure that the scales are not tipped unfairly in the long run.  Good luck.


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