Who Gets the Car in a Divorce?

August 22nd, 2016

Will you get to keep the car you drive to meet your lawyer once your divorce is finalized in Portland Oregon?

From what we’ve observed, all depends.

luxury-carIn Washington State, if the car in question was purchased after you were married but before you were divorced then it’s considered “community property” and may be divided evenly.

Oregon, however, is an equitable distribution state. That means a judge doesn’t have to divide property evenly. Instead, he or she can divide property in a way they believe is equitable and fair.

If you and your future ex-spouse can’t decide who gets to keep the car, the judge will. Depending on the judge’s ruling, you may have to buy half the car or trade an equal amount of other property for it.

The judge may give the car to the spouse that needs it the most. For example, a mini-van may go to the custodial parent so they can shuttle the kids to and from school.

If you entered the marriage owning the car, chances are good you’ll get to keep it. The property does not belong to the marriage.

Things can change if during the marriage you put a lot of money into the vehicle. The court may deem the investments made to your hot rod belong to the marriage. In that case, your future ex-spouse may be entitled to some of your car’s value.

Your divorce lawyer can help you steer through the difficulties of dividing your assets in Portland Oregon.  If you have more questions about property distribution in a divorce, contact Ronald Johnston here.

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