I bought her a car as a gift prior to our separation, even though she already had a good, reliable car. The car is in my name, but she says I cannot divest the asset because it was “gifted” to her.
If the vehicle I purchased is considered a “gift” is it her separate property or is it marital property subject to division?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction, I can provide you with general divorce help to your marital property division question, though for specific separation advice for men you need to speak with a divorce lawyer.
Your interest in the car depends on the marital property laws in your state, though it’s likely you retain an interest in both vehicles.
In general, the court may resolve any ownership disputes during the dissolution of a marriage, including awarding “family use personal property” to either or both parties.
“Family use personal property” generally includes property owned by one or both of the spouses during the marriage and usually includes motor vehicles.
Generally, when the court awards property between the spouses, it will consider a litany of factors including, but not limited to: contributions to the marriage, property value, economic circumstances of the parties, the duration of the marriage, and how the property interests were acquired.
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In your case, you may still retain an interest in both cars if they qualify as “family use personal property.”
Let’s take Maryland property laws for example. According to the statutes, the fact that you gifted the car to your wife does not automatically remove the asset from the marital estate. The story would be different if she acquired the car as a gift from a relative or friend since “family use personal property” does not include gifts from third parties.
You and your wife can always agree on property division on your own. If you cannot agree, the court will divide your assets for you using the factors listed above and those included in your state’s property laws.
Reminder, the information received is not legal advice on divorce. Consult with the divorce lawyers for men at Cordell and Cordell Family Law for state-specific information on property division.
Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Daniel Exner, a Staff Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.