Knowledge — 2 years ago

Can My Wife Sell the Vehicle If It Is in Her Name?

by Alvin V.

Can My Wife Sell the Vehicle If It Is in Her Name

My Wife Is Selling the Vehicle - Can She Do It?

A common question that many husbands have during a divorce is: Can my wife sell the vehicle if it is in her name? Auto ownership is an important aspect of divorce that you have to consider because a divorce also dictates property distribution. So, if the vehicle is in your wife’s name, can she sell her car?

In the U.S, Divorce Laws differ from state to state. However, in most states, you can find more or less similar laws. So, in this article, we discuss what generally applies in most states if you want to know if your wife can sell a vehicle that is in her name.

Can My Wife Sell the Vehicle If It Is in Her Name

Marital vs Separate Property

While each state has its own set of rules regarding property division for divorce, spouses are usually allowed to keep their separate property. Separate property is any property that was acquired by either you or your spouse before your marriage and hence belongs exclusively to your or your spouse. It may even be an inheritance or a gift during the marriage.

So, if the vehicle belonged to your wife even before your marriage, she will most likely keep it and hence, is free to sell it as she pleases.

However, if the vehicle was purchased during your marriage, then it will be considered marital property, even if the vehicle is in the name of only one spouse. So, even if only your wife’s name is on the car, it won’t automatically go to her if it was purchased during your marriage, meaning that it’s not her sole property so she does not have the right to sell the car even if she wants to.

Can My Wife Sell Her Car During a Divorce?

Whether you have filed for divorce, or your wife has filed for divorce and you have been served, some states in the US do not allow the transfer of property until the divorce is finalized. This is known as an automatic temporary restraining order, or ATROs, which is issued by the court.

This means that neither you or your wife is allowed to sell or give away your any property during the divorce process before the divorce is finalized and settlements are agreed upon. One exception to this is a bona fide transfer to pay off pre-existing debts.

Not only this, but many states also forbid making substantial changes to any property or asset, except for bona fide transfers for values and the purpose of ordinary business affairs.

Can She Sell Her Car
Splitting Assets during a Divorce

When you file for divorce, deciding on how to split your assets is an important part of the process. If you and your spouse can amicably come to an agreement that is fair for both parties, that’s great news.

A settlement agreement decides which spouse gets to keep which marital property. For example, if your wife gets to keep the vehicle which was purchased during your marriage, then you get to keep another similarly valued asset. However, if you and your spouse fail to come to an agreement on how to split your assets, then you will either have to have a neutral third party come in and help, which is called meditation, or you will have to get ready for a court battle. Either way, the court helps you decide which property goes to whom.

So, if you’re wondering, “Can my wife sell her car if you file for divorce?”, the answer really depends on various factors such as whether the vehicle is the separate property or marital property, and the Property Division Laws of the state you reside in.


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