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My ex-husband wrecked his car before the divorce was finalized. Am I liable?

Fort Worth, TX |

I signed the car title over to my ex on 6/21 in anticipation of the pending divorce. He neglected to register it & rear ended someone on 7/18. He did not have insurance, but I did. The divorce was finalized on 8/16 & he was granted ownership of the car in the divorce decree. I recently received a request for repayment from the insurance company that covered the other driver's expenses... Since I was no longer the title carrier but he neglected to register the car, am I liable for these damages?

Attorney Answers 6

  1. Looks like you are, unfortunately. You now have an action possibly against your ex.

    Providing general answers are meant to help the poster to understand some complex legal concepts and in no way creates an attorney-client relationship.

  2. Was this foreseeable event addresses in your decree?

    You are probably liable. You might be able to sue your ex for it after you pay it.

    This answer DOES NOT establish an attorney-client relationship. This answer is based on the limited information provided and is not intended to be conclusive advice. There are likely other factors that might influence or change the advice after a more lengthy consultation.

  3. He is liable for the act. Your insurance is liable for the damages. You'll have to pay the deductible yourself. If there are any tort claims, he is liable for them. You are very lucky that you kept the insurance in place--or you had a smart lawyer.

    Your divorce decree probably has some indemnification provisions in there. Unless your ex has a lot of money, he is probably judgment proof making those indemnification provisions worthless (Texas is a debtor-friendly state).

  4. If the insuracne company paid, it did so because the car was covered under their policy. If you were still married on the date of the accident and the car was still insured under your policy, then no problem.
    If car was still covered under your auto policy, the name of the title is not determinative of coverage. Your insurance company should have paid in accordance with the terms of the policy. .
    Consult with a local attorney to discuss any claim that your insurance company is making against you.

  5. That liability should have been divided in the divorce if you knew about it before the Decree was entered. Does the Decree address liabilities incurred during the separation or contain an indemnification clause? Often a Decree will say that the party is liable for expenses related to property awarded to them. It doesn't keep third parties from suing you for his debts, but gives you a basis for recovering from him if they do.
    Depending upon the amount in controversy the insurance company may not sue you. I think this is an insurance law question. I'll add an insurance law tag.

    This does not establish an attorney/client relationship. Dallas, Denton, Collin and Tarrant County, Texas practice area. Principal office located in Lake Dallas, Texas.

  6. Sounds like the third party's insurance covered them (the person your ex hit) and now the third party insurance is trying to subrogate against you (recover the money they paid on the claim.) Call both your homeowners/ renters insurance carrier and your auto insurance carrier immediately to put them on notice. This has the potential to cause you a lot more trouble down the road. Don't try to deal with the other insurance company by yourself.

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