Is a leased car considered an asset or liability?

UPDATED: Sep 8, 2011

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Is a leased car considered an asset or liability?

I am currently going through a divorce and, as a result, I have no car. I want to get one but am afraid of buying one in case my soon to be ex-wife is entitled to any of it. To that end, if I lease a car, is it classed as a liability and not an asset thus she can’t take it from me?

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Family Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The vehicle is not an asset, since you do not own it--it is owned by the financing company or the dealership (depending on exactly how the arrangement is structured). You spouse cannot get it from you, because it is not yours to transfer; she cannot get anything not owned by you.

The obligation to pay would be a liability, since it is a contractual obligation which you must meet; there is a monthly payment which you must make.

If you acquire too expensive a leased car, that could be held against you: it could be seen as an indulgence or a deliberate attempt to keep assets from you spouse, so if you splurge, the court may penalize you in other ways. Get something reasonable and practical.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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