Q. My ex-husband had his car in my name when we were married. We are divorced as of April and he will not take the car out of my name and he’s not keeping up with the payments. What can I do?
A. It sounds like your ex isn’t going to be reasoned with too easily.
The car loan and the car itself should have been addressed in your marital settlement agreement or final judgment of divorce.
It should have been part of the agreement, along with the issues of any alimony, custody and equitable distribution of assets, said Kenneth White, a divorce attorney with Shane and White in Edison.
He said you should look to the specific language of your agreement regarding your rights and your ex’s responsibilities about the car.
White said typical language included in a marital settlement agreement would go 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.”
White said there are times language is added to the agreement requiring one party to refinance the debt associated with the automobile he or she is keeping.
If your agreement has such language, you will want to forward formal correspondence to your ex reminding him of his responsibility and demanding that he cure his default within a limited period of time, White said.
In the event your ex refuses to cooperate, your only option to secure relief is to return to court by filing a motion.
If your agreement has language about the car, you would ask the judge to enforce the agreement.
If there is no language about the car, you would file a motion seeking relief, White said.
“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,” he said. “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 dealer.”
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.
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