It isn’t uncommon for married couples in Maryland and throughout the nation to acquire assets during the course of their marriages. For instance, you and your former spouse may have acquired a vehicle so that you could both get to work or take the kids to soccer practice. After a divorce, it may be necessary to determine who owns that vehicle.

Equitable distribution rules apply

As Maryland is an equitable distribution state, marital property is divided in a way that is considered “fair”. If you bought the car before marriage, then the vehicle would be considered separate property, and you’d get to keep it. However, if the vehicle was attained during the marriage, it would be considered marital property, and it thus would be subject to property division. This would be the case despite whose name is on the title.

Ways to split joint property

In the event that you and your former spouse own a vehicle jointly, it may be necessary to sell it and split the proceeds from the sale. It is also possible that your spouse will give you sole ownership of a car in exchange for other property. Typically, a judge will order that the car be sold if neither party is willing to give it up voluntarily.

What if the car isn’t fully paid off?

It is possible that the vehicle will be worth less than what you owe to a lender. A judge may order that each person pay off a portion of that remaining balance. Of course, you may be able to come to an agreement with the vehicle’s other owner as it relates to satisfying the debt.

If you have questions about property division during a divorce, it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney. He or she might be able to answer those questions in a concise and timely fashion.