Spouse has the car I paid for


#1

My husband separated from me in November. His parents and him kicked me out but I was able to stay for a couple of months until I found a new place to live, as my mom was dead and my dad lives far away. A year ago my spouse started working part-time (about 30-45 hours a week) a few months after he totaled my car. I was carpooling with his parents to work. In Dec. 2007, we bought a new used Honda Accord. We agreed it would be mine, I would drive it when I couldn’t ride with his parents and on weekends, and I would make the car payments, pay the down payment, and the car insurance for both of us to drive it. When he got a part-time job a year ago, there were times when both his parents (his mom had a slightly different work schedule than me since she only worked 30 hours) needed their cars and I had an appointment to get to, and he needed the Honda to get to his job. He demanded he needed the Honda to get to work, threatened me he would quit his job if I didn’t let him have it, his parents would also be angry with me if he couldn’t get to work. He didn’t contribute towards any of the bills, he blamed me for having the bills, as they were all incurred by me, and not “ours”. When he doesn’t work he gets very depressed and is anti-social. Basically I couldn’t go anywhere unless I asked permission of his parents and my spouse, this went on for about nine months. Eventually I felt I had to get my own car so I bought one. The Honda wasn’t paid off yet so a couple of months I made the two car payments. In November, he wrote me a letter saying he could no longer be my husband because he didn’t love me. After he left me and stayed at his parents house, he took the car from me so I made him pay the last two payments on the Honda (which he thought was already paid off). He keeps saying he will file divorce papers but has not yet. Is there anything I can do to recooperate some of the money I put into the car? Does he really get it just because he needs a car to get to work? It is legally in his name and he has the title (my credit was bad so I couldn’t get anything in my name or be a co-signer). It is really unfair he gets a free car to drive when I’ve paid for 95% of it.


#2

There is not a way for you to recoup the funds that you have paid into the car, but equitable distribution divides the marital property. If the only property you have is the car, he may be ordered to pay you for half of the value depending on the equitable distribution factors presented to the court. You should refer to our site for more information on how the courts divide property to help you determine how you should proceed.