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Being awarded a car in the divorce

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getnbtr1 posted 11/21/2013 13:29 PM

Maybe someone can help me with this. We were each awarded a vehicle in the divorce. The car he was awarded has a lien on it that we are both responsible for paying, and was registered in my name and insured in both names. According the the DMV here in CT, I can't transfer ownership of the car to him without a title. The bank has the title and of course won't release the title until lien is paid off (which we cannot afford to do at this time). I am worried that if he gets in any trouble with the car, I'm on the hook for it since its still in my name. Any thoughts on what I can do about this? The DMV will gladly accept the divorce judgement and change car ownership to him, but a title still is needed. What have other people done in this situation?

MovingUpward posted 11/21/2013 14:22 PM

I doubt the bank will let you off of the loan, but they may allow assist you in getting the title changed over. My advice for all divorcing couple is a clause that if a piece of property is to be given to the other spouse and it has a joint loan against it then the settlement agreement requires the other spouse to refinance it in their own name in like within 60 days or that property should be sold and profits go to the other spouse. It just helps to break unnecessary ties with your XS

ButterflyGirl posted 11/21/2013 16:08 PM

I wasn't finished paying off my car, but I needed a title, and the bank gladly sent an "electronic" one for me. You just need a copy of it, so I think they will give it to you. Mine did anyway..

crisp posted 11/22/2013 06:06 AM

Don't worry about it. When it is paid off or refinanced is when the title change will occur. The status of being an Owner on the title at the DMV does not increase your liability exposure if the car is in an accident. That is a common misconception. In order for you to be liable to a 3rd party, you have to be negligent in some fashion--like driving the car or giving the keys to a drunk person. Add to that the insurance coverage on the car and the divorce decree that specifies the transfer of 100% of your equitable title (as opposed to legal title). You should concentrate on issues which might reasonably affect you. There are plenty of those in a divorce.

crisp posted 11/22/2013 06:16 AM

I'll give you an example of how the issue plays out. A while back our state Supreme Court detailed the very limited circumstances where a title holder to an automobile might be personally liable for damages (beyond insurance) to 3rd parties when their vehicle was involved in an accident. The fact scenario was a grandmother lending her car to her grandson when she knew that he was an addict and had a revoked license. The court overturned the lower court's rulings and found that under these circumstances the Grandmother had a duty to the public not to lend the car to such a person and was negligent in doing so. I hope this helps you put your mind at ease.

getnbtr1 posted 11/22/2013 07:59 AM

Thanks everyone. Crisp, yes your posts were quite helpful. I had also read somewhere that if the judgegment awards him the car, that I would be relieved from any responsibly if he were to getting some trouble with the car, including tickets. Not sure if that's completely true or not. I am asking him to have the car solely insured in his name. I have moved my car off of our join insurance policy. I spoke with the bank and they will not release me from the loan of course. They suggested he refinance, but he doesn't make enough they suspected. I'm not sure how Butterfly Girl was able to get the bank to offer up a title, but Bank Of America won't do that for me. I guess best I can hope for is that we pay off the remainder of the loan early and get the car transferred over. One other sticky thing, we live in different towns and CT has car tax based on town. This means my address is connected to the tax and he will have to pay a higher amount as a result. Oh well.

StillLivin posted 11/22/2013 10:08 AM

He has to refinance the loan in his name.
Same same with us.
He didn't want to at first. I "coerced" his decision to do the right thing. His OW was drving around in a car with MY name still on it.
I informed him that while he was in Afghanistan, I was within my legal rights to take the car and park it in a garage somewhere. He couldn't call the police on me for theft cuz it was still in my name.

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