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Can my husband keep my car if we are getting a divorce. its under my name?

El Centro, CA |

i bought that car with our joint tax refund

Attorney Answers 3


Your joint income tax refund is community property. If your joint income tax refund paid for the car in full, the car is all community property. If your joint income tax refund paid only for part of the car and you have been making payments on the car since separation, you have a partial separate property interest in the car. The Court divides net assets (i.e., the total assets less the total liabilities) 50/50. If there are two cars in the family, the Court generally awards one car to each party. The fact that the car is registered under your name is immaterial. If this was the car that you typically drove, it would likely be awarded to you, charging you with the amount of equity in the car if it is all community property, or if it is partially separate property, charging you with the community portion of the equity in the car. Typically, where a party receives an asset, the other party receives assets of equivalent equity. Tell your husband to stop bullying you.

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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If the car was bought during marriage with community funds (joint tax refund) then the car is going to be community property regardless of how the car is titled. It will be up to the Judge at trial to determine who keeps the car. Usually it is awarded to the party that drove the car during the marriage at the Kelly Ble Book value minus any debt on the car.

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The title is not dispositive, but rather when you purchased the vehicle, either during the marriage or after the date of separation, and what the character was of the funds that were used for the purchase, community or separate property.

If the joint tax refund was community, which it likely was, the community would have an ownership interest equivalent to that amount in the vehicle. Subsequent payments on the vehicle, whether from community or separate property, would further affect this calculus.

Generally the spouse that keeps the car also keeps making the payments.

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