Car issues in a Texas divorce? Read this blog post to find some peace of mind (2023)

Concerned about how your vehicle will be handled in conjunction with your Texas?divorce? If you're not sure how to solve problems related to your vehicle for you and your spouse, then you've come to the right place. It struck me (and this may come as a shock to some of you reading this blog) that most Texans drive a car, truck, or somethingmotor vehicle. After you have recovered from the surprise of reading this observation of mine, you should know that in addition to owning a motor vehicle, many people own that vehicle with another person and have a significant loan attached to that vehicle.

Additional problems come into play when you owe more on the vehicle than it's worth, at least from the perspective of lack of peace of mind during the divorce. Anyone who has gone through a divorce can tell you that finding peace of mind the way it is can be difficult. Throw in a big auto note on top of all the other stressors and you have an explosive situation as far as stress is concerned.

in yesterdayblog entry, we have covered a lot of information on topics related to vehicles, divorce, car registration, car titles and everything in between. We'll be doing that today as well, but I strongly encourage you to go back and read through the information we wrote about in this blog post. It may contain just a little bit of information you need to grasp that peace of mind and knowledge that can solve your problem that you couldn't quite figure out.

No lien on your vehicle? Your problem with the car just got a lot easier.

If you and your spouse both signed a car loan as co-borrowers, you may both be liable if that promissory note defaults due to defaults. In this day and age of auto manufacturers and lenders giving a car loan to a carpenter, there may even be times when you were all loaned money to buy a car you can't afford. While not particularly relevant to our discussion today, it does add to the stress level you experience when attempting to triage issues related to your vehicle.

Practically speaking, if you owe money for a car title, you cannot transfer the title to your name until after your divorce, even if the divorce decree allows it. To do this, you need an exemption from attachment from the creditor. In many cases, the vehicle title is not with the motor vehicle office, but with the lender. They will not give you the title or allow you to change it until the grade is paid in full.

However, if you don't have a loan for the vehicle, you can quickly and easily transfer title to the car from your spouse to you, or from both of you in just your names. take yourfinal divorce decree, the vehicle's title and a few dollars to your local Department of Motor Vehicles office. There you can present these documents and have the title updated according to the instructions in your final divorce decree.

Watch your credit score, car loans and divorce

For some of you, you'll find that trying to refinance a car loan after a divorce can be difficult. Your credit score may already be declining or have steadily deteriorated due to an inability to make loan payments during a costly divorce. Or your credit is non-existent and your income is not helping you to refinance. In any case, you might find that directing your divorce decree to refinance your car bill in your name only is easier said than done.

It's difficult to protect yourself and your credit score in a divorce. You have already seen that you may find yourself in a position where you have to rely on an ex-spouse to pay off a debt that they may not be able to pay in the future. If that person misses payments, both of your credit scores will be affected. This can affect your ability to take out future vehicle loans, secure financing for your business, or even get a home mortgage. When your future for your vehicle is impacted so badly, it's good to be here with us today.

Your divorce decree is the first line of defense between you and your creditworthiness being damaged. The final divorce decree is a contract between you and your ex-spouse. You both agree to abide by the terms contained in this document. If you do not do this, the other spouse can bring an action for enforcement in the same court. An enforcement action seeks to do just that—enforce the terms of your divorce decree. This can be an effective method for your spouse to live until the end of the divorce decree.

However, even if you successfully enforce the terms of your divorce decree, the question remains whether you need to deal with the creditor who can hold you liable for a debt that is now your spouse's responsibility — at least according to your terms of the divorce decree. However, erase your order that the car debt belongs to your spouse; it is still the case that you are responsible under the creditor-debtor contract. No creditor will comply with the terms of a Texas divorce decree. For the lender, this decree is irrelevant.

A car loan held jointly by you and your ex-spouse remains a joint loan in the eyes of your creditor. This also applies if your spouse violates the divorce decision of the family judge. OnenforcementLawsuit is an excellent legal remedy that can be provided in Texas. Unfortunately, a creditor doesn't care, as it's not an effective way to keep from calling you and hurting your credit score.

You can talk to your attorney about what you can do to ensure your divorce decree is clear and concise. These are crucial factors when it comes to having an enforceable document. The last thing you want is for a judge to go back and look at your divorce decree and determine that you are not entitled to relief because the document is not clear about what your spouse must do to fulfill their end of contract . This can be avoided with the right design.

What about taking back the vehicle? Can that come into play?

We've all seen a pickup truck drive past an apparently undamaged vehicle and prepare to be towed. Whether it's in a restaurant parking lot, in our neighborhood, or in an office park, the pick-up truck is probably there to take away an impounded vehicle. This is a method you may be able to use if your spouse is unable to pay off future debts on a car that is also in your name. Let's discuss how this can become a reality for you in your divorce case.

Talk to your attorney about whether there is an option for you to include wording in the final divorce decree that says if your spouse fails to make the car loan payments for a period of time, you can take possession of the vehicle and then exchange it to pay off the loan. How you take control and what kind of access you get to the car is another matter entirely. A deed of trust securing adoption is a similar document when a spouse fails to pay a mortgage on time and you have to go back and foreclose on them to settle the house note.

The ability to include this provision in a divorce decree means that you will likely need to meditate on it. I've never seen a judge insert that kind of language into his decision after a divorce trial. If you successfully negotiate for this language, your ex-spouse will have another incentive to keep the loan payments on track. Likewise, you now have a legal method to minimize the damage to your credit score.

Pay off debt where and when you can

On the other hand, if you can cash out, this is the best optionDebtduring your marriage. Even if you can negotiate to handle the debt in your divorce, it still means you owe money to someone else. Paying off a car loan means you'll be better equipped to build wealth and avoid dealing with any of those unwanted situations affecting your finances.

What to do in the short term regarding your spouse's car payment?

If your spouse comes up to you one day and tells you that he's leaving home and planning to divorce you, your first thought probably won't be, "Do I still have to pay for your car?" It's a valid concern though for the future, and I will address some of the issues related to this in the concluding sections of today's blog post.

If the vehicle is your spouse's separate property, as she bought or financed it before your marriage, then the answer is fairly certain, no, you don't have to make any payments. On the other hand, if the vehicle is owned by both you and your spouse, you are both responsible for paying in the eyes of the lender. To the extent a family court is involved, you are both responsible for making payments until responsibility for payments is assigned to you or your spouse individually by a court.

It doesn't matter whether the vehicle belongs to just one of you or whether you've never been in the car before. If the note is in your name and you made the payments for the car, chances are you have a legal obligation to make payments for it. This is true at least until a court steps in and says you no longer have to make those payments.

During the temporary arrangements phase, you and your spouse will split the payment of bills for the remaining months of your marriage. The Autonote is no exception. Don't be surprised if you find out that you are responsible for paying for the car, even if it's your spouse's separate property. This responsibility will likely continue until the end of your divorce so that your spouse can find suitable employment.

Questions about cars, property, or other issues related to Texas divorce? Contact Bryan Fagan's law firm

If you have further questions on this or any other topic in Texasfamily law, please do not hesitateContactDieLaw Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys will advise you free of charge in our office six days a week. These consultations are an excellent opportunity to ask questions about your specific situation and receive direct feedback on your case.

Thank you for joining us today and we look forward to seeing you again here on our blog. Our attorneys and staff are honored to represent clients throughout Southeast Texas, and we would like the opportunity to share our thoughts on how we can help you and your family.


Who gets the car in a divorce in Texas? ›

Texas is a community property state, which means that all joint assets are generally divided on a 50/50 basis in a final divorce settlement.

How are vehicles valued in a divorce? ›

In the lease purchase situation, the automobile will be an asset and its value gets added to the marital assets. However, the remaining payments and any final buyout amounts get added to the marital debts.

Is a car an asset or debt in a divorce? ›

The car is considered a marital asset and is owned by both parties. Similarly, if there is a car loan associated with the car, then, although the car loan may be in one party's name, the loan is considered a marital liability and will need to be considered in the divorce.

How many years do you have to be separated to be legally divorced in Texas? ›

Texas does not recognize legal separation. However, separation for a period of at least three years is one of the grounds for divorce in Texas. Living separately and apart means living in different residences.

Are cars considered marital property in Texas? ›

A car purchased on credit during the marriage is community property. A divorce court can award the car (and balance owed) to one spouse, but does not have the power to remove the other spouse's name from the contract that created the debt. The creditor can still look to the other spouse for payment.

How do you split a car loan in a divorce? ›

What do you do? Typically, the only way to get your name off the loan is for your spouse to refinance it in his or her name alone. If your spouse can't qualify for an auto loan by him or herself, or if he or she refuses to refinance the auto loan, it's worth the time to speak with a lawyer about your options.

Who determines the value of a car? ›

There are various sources to help you find out the value of your used car; three popular sources are Kelley Blue Book (, National Automotive Dealers Association, and Edmunds. Different factors will affect the value of your vehicle such as the mileage, the condition, your location, and the color of the car.

How much value does a car lose per owner? ›

Depreciation is the difference between a car's value when you buy it and when you come to sell it. This drop in value varies between makes and models but typically is between 15-35% in the first year and up to 50% or more over three years.

How is the value of your car determined? ›

Actual cash value (ACV)

It is determined by the replacement cost of your vehicle minus depreciation, which considers things like age and wear and tear. Most insurance policies cover the actual cash value of your car in the event of a claim and will use a third party to determine the ACV of your vehicle.

Is a car that is not paid off an asset? ›

A financed vehicle can be considered an asset but only if its value is greater than the amount you owe on it. For example, if you have a car that is worth $10,000, and you owe $5,000 on it, the value of the asset as a whole would be $5,000.

Is a car an asset on a balance sheet? ›

In accounting terms, your car is a depreciating asset. This means your vehicle may have value right now and you could sell it. However, while you own the car, that value usually goes down over time.

Are cars included in assets? ›

Yes and no. The vehicle itself is an asset, since it's a tangible thing that helps you get from point A to point B and has some amount of value on the market if you need to sell it. However, the car loan that you took out to get that car is a liability.

What is spousal abandonment in Texas? ›

Abandonment laws in Texas apply when one spouse leaves the marital home without the intent of ever coming back. In addition, the abandoning spouse generally must make no effort to communicate or offer any financial support to the other spouse.

Is dating while separated adultery in Texas? ›

Therefore, the court may consider dating while in the middle of divorce proceedings as “adultery” even if the couple has been separated and living apart. According to Texas law, a spouse commits adultery when the relationship is of sexual nature.

What is the average cost of a divorce in Texas? ›

Thus, the average total cost of divorce in Texas is about $15,000 if no children are involved and $23,000 if child-related issues must be resolved.

Is a car matrimonial property? ›

Cars, jewellery, money, investments and pensions are all matrimonial property, even if owned by one party to the marriage, as long as they are acquired during the marriage and before the relevant date.

Are cars relationship property? ›

In the usual course, the family home, chattels, cars, holiday homes, businesses and any other property acquired during the relationship are relationship property. Separate property is usually property owned prior to the relationship (other than the family home) or assets received by gift or by inheritance.

Is car a part of property? ›

A car is tangible personal property, not real property, as the car presumably can be moved. Unlike a great deal of personal property, a car can be used to secure a loan.

Are you responsible for your spouse's car loan? ›

In most states, the estate and surviving auto loan co-signers are the ones held responsible for paying off the remaining auto loan balance. If there are no co-signers on the loan and the estate can't pay it off, a surviving spouse, relatives, or other beneficiaries won't be responsible for paying off the debt.

What happens to a financed car during a divorce? ›

As long as both names are on the current car loan, no matter the situation of who's using it or which account the payments come out of, both parties are equally responsible for the full amount of the loan so it's better to clear it up!

How do I remove my spouse from my car loan? ›

You have three main options to remove a co-signer from a car loan.
  1. Co-Signer Release. One option is to ask the lender for a co-signer release. ...
  2. Refinance the Loan. ...
  3. Sell the Car.
May 19, 2022

Who is the rightful owner of a car? ›

If you bought your car outright or your finance contract is fully paid up and finished, you're the legal owner of the car. If there's still an outstanding balance on your car – you have finance to be paid or a balloon payment coming up – then you're only the registered keeper.

How is equity determined in a car? ›

You reach positive equity on a car once the market value of your car surpasses the principal amount of your loan. Let's say you take out a $20,000 loan for a $25,000 car, and you made a $5,000 down payment. If that car's current market value is $23,000, then you would have $3,000 in positive equity.

What car brand loses the most value? ›

Vehicles that Depreciate the Most
Top 10 Vehicles With the Highest Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Nissan LEAF65.1%
2BMW i363.1%
3BMW 7 Series61.5%
8 more rows
Oct 30, 2021

What age do cars lose most value? ›

Generally speaking, the average car loses 20% of its value in the first year alone. Depreciation in most cases does slow down after the initial year, with cars losing an average of around 33% of their value after three years and almost 50% after five years.

At what mileage do cars depreciate the most? ›

0-30,000 miles

New cars suffer their biggest drop in value within their first year of ownership and continue to lose value sharply until their warranties run out, which is normally at around 36,000 miles or in their third year – whichever comes soonest.

What parts of a car are worth selling? ›

Electric items in the car such as the GPS system are one of the most valuable, along with sturdy metal like the fenders. Other parts that may get you some money include the doors, catalytic converters, air bags, bumpers, wheels, tyres, rims, side view mirrors, tail lamps, and the engine.

What is fair value of a car? ›

Your aunt may be willing to sell you her old car for $100, but that doesn't mean it has a $100 fair market value. The fair market value would be what the car is worth at an auto lot or in a normal private sale.

What is fair value of a vehicle? ›

Fair market value is the price at which the vehicle would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller.

What percentage of value will total a car? ›

Generally, the cutoff is somewhere in the 70% to 75% range. In this case, the car is considered to be a total loss except for the value of scrap metal or potentially salvageable parts. An appraiser can check the damage done to a wrecked vehicle to determine the totaled car value.

Is a bank account considered an asset? ›

Assets are things you own that have value. Your money in a savings or checking account is an asset. A car, home, business inventory, and land are also assets.

What are 3 types of assets? ›

Common types of assets include current, non-current, physical, intangible, operating, and non-operating.

Is motor vehicle an asset or liability? ›

The bottom line, most cars are not an investment or an asset. There are however other factors involved such as pride of ownership, status, and the fact that you probably won't get work if you don't have reliable transport.

What makes a car an asset? ›

In general, most people would say that a car is an asset because it has value and can be sold for money. However, there are other definitions of assets that may not include cars. For example, some people might say that an asset is something that generates income or increases in price.

Are car payments liabilities? ›

Liabilities are anything you owe money on. A car loan, home mortgage, or even child support obligations are all liabilities that should also be included in your overall net worth.

Are cars considered fixed assets? ›

Some common examples of fixed assets include vehicles, buildings, land, furnishings, and machines.

Is 401k considered an asset? ›

Retirement account: Retirement accounts include 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, IRAs and pension plans, to name a few. These are important asset accounts to grow, and they're held in a financial institution. There may be penalties for removing funds from these accounts before a certain time.

Is your car a capital asset? ›

Capital assets are significant pieces of property such as homes, cars, investment properties, stocks, bonds, and even collectibles or art.

Do cars appreciate in value? ›

Most vehicles depreciate over time, but there are some cars that increase and appreciate in value. It's not always easy to predict which new models will become future classics and which will end up in the junkyard, but cars worth more decades later often share some common characteristics.

Can you sue your spouse for emotional distress in Texas? ›

Marital Tort – Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

As discussed in a recent blog post, this is not possible in Texas as our state does not recognize this cause of action. The most common tort pursued by a married person against their spouse is a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Can I get half of my husband's retirement in a divorce in Texas? ›

Most retirement savings plans – like 401(k)s – can be divided on divorce no matter the length of the marriage. For these types of plans, the court is not required to split the retirement evenly between the spouses.

Who has to leave the house in a divorce in Texas? ›

No one is required to move out during a Texas divorce

Until the property is distributed in the final divorce order, both parties have a right to be there. Whether one party should choose to move out before the divorce is finalized, however, should be the subject of careful consideration and discussion.

What are the three types of adultery? ›

5 Types of Adultery You Probably Did not Know About
  • Passionate Adultery. Couples frequently consider physical unfaithfulness first with regards to put stock in infringement in the relationship, however regularly ignore enthusiastic disloyalty. ...
  • Energetic Adultery. ...
  • Mental Adultery. ...
  • Visual Adultery. ...
  • Spiritual Adultery.
Jun 20, 2018

Who pays for a divorce adultery in Texas? ›

But Texas courts consider marital misconduct, including infidelity, in dividing the parties' community estate. Typically, fault grounds for divorce, such as adultery, are raised by the innocent spouse to gain a greater (or disproportionate) award of the community estate.

Is texting considered adultery in Texas? ›

Texas Family Code section 6.003 defines “adultery” as a married person voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with another individual who is not their spouse during the marriage. However, non-sexual activities such as texting, flirting over social media, and other consented actions aren't strictly considered adultery.

What is wife entitled to in divorce Texas? ›

In Texas, the courts presume that all property and income that either spouse obtained during the course of the marriage belongs equally to both spouses. This means that the state will equally divide the couple's assets between them in the divorce process.

How much does wife get after divorce in Texas? ›

1. What is the standard alimony allowance in Texas? According to Abby, “The maximum alimony – or spousal maintenance as it is referred to in Texas – the court will order is $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the spouse's average monthly gross income, whichever is less.

What does a woman get in a divorce in Texas? ›

Texas law entitles wives and husbands alike to a just and right share of marital assets. Marital assets, or “community property,” are generally assets that either spouse acquired during the marriage. Anything classified as community property is subject to division.

What is the wife entitled to in a divorce in Texas? ›

In Texas, the courts presume that all property and income that either spouse obtained during the course of the marriage belongs equally to both spouses. This means that the state will equally divide the couple's assets between them in the divorce process.

How do I get my ex husband off my car title in Texas? ›

You need to have your ex-spouse execute a power of attorney that allows your name to be removed from the title. Your name would be removed from the title by taking a power of attorney to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

How do I remove a spouse from my car title in Texas? ›

Divorce. If a vehicle is awarded as a result of a divorce decree, give a certified copy of the decree to your county tax office and apply for title. If the decree does not award the vehicle, a properly assigned title (where your ex-spouse signed the title over to you) will be required.

How are assets split in a Texas divorce? ›

Texas Is A Community Property State

In Texas Family Code Sec. 3.002, it states that everything you acquire during your marriage – money earned, real estate purchased, and any other property obtained– is considered to belong equally to both spouses and will be divided by the Court.

Does a husband have to support his wife during separation in Texas? ›

Is Spousal Support Mandatory in Texas? No, spousal support is not mandatory in Texas. In the case of a divorce where a spouse is seeking spousal support, the judge will ensure that the situation meets the requirements laid out in Texas law in order to qualify for spousal support.

How many years do you have to be married to get spousal support in Texas? ›

So even in divorce cases where one of the spouses earns a sizeable income, that is the most you can expect. In addition, you must be married a minimum of 10 years in order to qualify for spousal maintenance in Texas.”

How much alimony does a wife get in Texas? ›

Amount of Maintenance in Texas

Texas is unique in that, unlike many other states, the law limits the amount of support a court can order. Maintenance awards may not be more than $5000 per month or more than 20% of the spouse's average monthly gross income (whichever is less).

How do I get my name off my ex's car? ›

Refinancing is the only way to remove a co-borrower from an auto loan. However, if you want to get your name off the car loan, your ex needs to qualify for refinancing and prove they can afford the payment on their own.

How long can someone leave a car on your property before it becomes yours in Texas? ›

In either scenario, the owner(s) and lienholder(s) have 20 days to claim the motor vehicle. If the vehicle remains unclaimed, the certificate of authority is issued on the 21st day after the notification is mailed or posted on this page.

How do I get my name off my car loan after divorce? ›

You have three main options to remove a co-signer from a car loan.
  1. Co-Signer Release. One option is to ask the lender for a co-signer release. ...
  2. Refinance the Loan. ...
  3. Sell the Car.
May 19, 2022

Can I keep my spouse's name off the title in Texas? ›

The spouse whose name is to be removed from the title will need to sign the deed in front of any notary. This can be done anywhere in the world. The signed and notarized deed will then need to be filed with the county clerk's office in the county where the property is located.

How do I add someone to my car title in Texas? ›

To add another lienholder on the vehicle title, you will need the vehicle title, Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U) and an Additional Lien Statement (Form VTR-267).

How much is it to change a car title in Texas? ›

The title fee is $33, plus motor-vehicle sales tax (6.25 percent). There is also a $2.50 transfer of a current registration fee. If the license is not current, there may be a registration fee.

How long do you have to be married to get half of retirement in Texas? ›

To be eligible, you must have been married 10 years or longer and meet other requirements. Social Security Spousal Benefits are based on your spouse's work history. The amount of spousal benefits may depend on the social security benefits you'll receive based on your own work history.

What assets are protected in a divorce in Texas? ›

Real estate, personal property, financial accounts, certain retirement plans and pensions, and specific employment benefits may be divided during divorce proceedings. However, any property or asset that qualifies as a party's separate property will not be divided in a divorce case.

Does it matter who files for divorce first in Texas? ›

In Texas, it generally does not matter which party files first. However, it may still be beneficial to be the filing party. This depends on your circumstances, and every case is different. If you have any questions, you should speak with your divorce attorney about what is best for you.


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