I recently purchased a vehicle during our separation period and want to know about property division laws.
Since we are still legally married, does my wife have any rights to my vehicle even though it is exclusively in my name and it was purchased during a separation?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on New Jersey divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
In equitable distribution states, in general, all property acquired during the course of the marriage is subject to equitable distribution. The equitable distribution statute in my jurisdiction extends from the date of the marriage to the date of the filing of the divorce complaint.
While you and your spouse are currently separated, legal separations are not recognized in some states unless the parties enter into a written Separation Agreement that resolves all of the marital issues, including equitable distribution.
Therefore, any assets or debts acquired during the marriage by either spouse during the separation period will be subject to equitable distribution.
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Marital fault is not a factor that is taken into consideration when distributing property in my state. The purpose of equitable distribution is to ensure a fair distribution of property that has been acquired during the marriage regardless of who or what caused the breakdown of the marriage.
Divorce actions are extremely fact sensitive. While I do not have a complete picture of all the martial assets and debts of your particular case, generally speaking in most divorce cases the parties usually agree to retain their respective vehicles and assume all of the associated financial responsibility.
Additionally, I don’t know whether your spouse owns her own vehicle or co-owns a vehicle with you. Nonetheless, in the event your wife wants to assert an interest in your new car, the debt incurred in obtaining the car should be allocated as well.
For purposes of equitable distribution, since the car is exclusively in your name, as part of the divorce you can certainly seek to keep the car and continue to assume all financial liability affiliated with it.
Equitable distribution can be a confusing issue as there are a multitude of factors that the court will consider in making an equitable distribution of marital property. Therefore, it is important that you seek the advice of a skilled men’s divorce attorney before addressing any equitable distribution issues raised in your divorce.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.