Is a Car an Asset in Divorce?

When it comes to divorce, there can certainly be a veritable mountain of legal obstacles and points of disagreement. Not every married couple has children but every married couple does have some marital property. Thus, property division is often the most difficult part of a divorce, especially when it comes to assets that both spouses rely on for their day-to-day lives, such as an automobile.

How Does a Court Divide a Car?

California uses community property guidelines, so each piece of marital property gets divided 50-50. Did you earn $100,000 while married to your spouse? Believe it or not, they have the right to $50,000 of that amount. Did you get a pair of sofas for the living room? One of those is going to be theirs.

But what about a car? It, like many other pieces of material property, can’t get cut right in half for an even split, not unless you both want your share of scrap metal. For high-ticket items that cannot be physically divided, the court will consider its value and divide that amount instead. You will need to appraise your car through a reputable source to learn its current expected sale price, not what you paid originally.

For example: You learn that your sedan could reasonably sell for $5,000 and your spouse agrees that you need it more than them to get to work. The court would likely give you the car and then $2,500 worth of other property, like furniture, appliances, shares in a business, etc. to your spouse to make up the difference.


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