My wife is leaving me. Compensation for car?

Asked about 4 years ago - Janesville, WI

My wife is leaving me. In this matter, she has taken our only vehicle. The loan is in her name but the title is in both of our names. We bought the car while married though. Will i receive compensation for the car. I could use it. Im paying people to give me rides on a weekly basis. i lost one of my jobs because of this and she is unemployed at the moment.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Ronald K. Phillips

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . Property acquired during a marriage is considered marital property, and there is a presumption that marital property is equally owned by the husband and wife. If you are going to divorce, you'll wind up with a property settlement that specifies who get what property and who is responsible for what debts. Some assets can be easily divided (bank accounts for example) but others (like a car) cannot, so ultimately there has to be some give-and-take. If you can't negotiate a property settlement, that will have to go to trial and the court will tell you who gets what.

    If you do divorce, and if your wife ends up with the car, and the car is indeed marital property, then there should be an adjustment of other property or debts to compensate for that (for example, your wife might agree to take responsibility for a marital debt in exchange for taking the car). Until there is a divorce and a property settlement that determines otherwise, you have a property interest in the car. You might ask if you can use the car and perhaps work out a short-term sharing arrangement.

    If you are divorcing, you should consult an attorney. The Wisconsin State Bar has a lawyer referral service that can connect you with a qualified attorney and get an initial consultation for a very reasonable fee. Please see http://www.legalexplorer.com/lawyer/lawyer.asp.

    -------------------D-I-S-C-L-A-I-M-E-R------------------
    This reply is not and should never be considered
    "legal advice." If you need legal advice, consult
    a licensed attorney in your state to make sure you
    understand both your state and federal laws concerning
    your issue. Your attorney will need specific and
    complete facts to provide you with legal advice.

    No attorney-client relationship has been created by this reply.

  2. Diane L. Mader

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . I agree with Attorney Phillips. You need to consult an attorney to represent your interests and who can advise you on the law and apply them to the facts of your specific case.

    Wisconsin is a marital property state and from what you say, it sounds like the car is marital property. You should be compensated for half the value of the car less the amount outstanding on the loan, but other property and debts of the marriage also have to be evaluated.

    Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship.

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