Will my ex-spouse make my car payments?

Upon the entry of your divorce, car loans and the car itself should have been addressed in your marital settlement agreement or your final judgment of divorce along with the issues of alimony, custody, and equitable distribution of assets according to Kenneth A. White of Shane and White, LLC in Edison, New Jersey. Mr. White was recently interviewed by NJMoneyhelp.com on this very issue.  He says that you should look at the specific language of the agreement regarding your rights and ex’s responsibilities about the car.

Kenneth White states that typical language in a Martial Settlement Agreement, or MSA, should be something like this:

“The parties shall retain sole ownership of the motor vehicles each is presently possessed of and each party shall be solely responsible for all costs in connection with his/her automobile, including but not limited to insurance, maintenance, repairs, registration, loan/lease payments, gas and oil. Each party hereby specifically waives any and all interest in the motor vehicles of the other party. Each party shall have an affirmative obligation to immediately execute and transfer any and all documentation, including but not limited to title work, to see that all right, title and interest in each party’s respective automobile(s) is established in that party. By way of further clarification, the Wife shall retain the Pilot and the Husband shall retain the Civic.”

There are also times when language can be added to the agreement requiring one party to refinance the debt associated with the automobile he or she is keeping. Should your MSA contain this language, Mr. White says that you will want to forward formal correspondence to your ex-spouse reminding them of their responsibility and demanding that they cure their default within a limited period of time. Should your ex-spouse not cooperate and there is language about the car in the MSA, then you will have to file a motion with the court to enforce the agreement. Should your MSA not contain this language then you will likely have to go to court and file a motion for relief, regardless.

“Within that motion you can ask the court for any and all relief you believe you may be entitled to, i.e. directing your ex to bring all payments due and owing with regard to the automobile current,” Kenneth A. White says. “In the alternative you might request that your ex be required to give you sole use and possession of the automobile so that you are free to do with it as you deem fit, whether that is to sell the automobile or return the same to the

Regardless of the form of motion you file, you should request to be compensated for your costs as well as any attorney fees you may incur as a result of your ex’s “bad faith,” White said.

It is important to protect yourself during a divorce action and here at Shane and White we are committed to your matrimonial and family law needs. Please contact our office at 732-819-9100 to set up a consultation today.

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