QUESTION

Is it true that I don't have the legal right to drive a car if it is in my husband's name?

Asked on Oct 09th, 2011 on Child Custody - Wisconsin
More details to this question:
My husband and I are in dispute over our cars. He feels that since the titles are in his name that I don't have the legal right to drive them. He told me if I take one of our cars to go to work, he will call the police and have me arrested for theft. We are legally married. For now. Also would I be entitled to one or both of these vehicles in our upcoming divorce?
Report Abuse
17 ANSWERS
Answered on Jul 08th, 2013 at 9:00 PM
The cars are martial property until proven otherwise by a court. Your husband is in error and I do not believe he will receive much support from law enforcement. Properties whether personal or real estate acquired during marriage are marital assets unless one can show they possessed the property prior to marriage or the asset was acquired with money prior to marriage or is by inheritance or another source not deemed to be a marital interest, salaries and pensions are marital assets.

Report Abuse
  • 4.4/5.0
  • 0
  • 1
4.4/5.0
n/a
no client reviews
BV Distinguished
Answered on Oct 28th, 2011 at 1:21 PM
While it is doubtful he can get you arrested, his attitude means you have a legal emergency and need to get yourself a divorce lawyer immediately to protect yourself from a bully who will likely face bad results from a court if you get a good lawyer.

Report Abuse
peer reviews not shown
0 recommendation
1 client review
Answered on Oct 11th, 2011 at 11:25 AM
In Wisconsin we are a marital property state. That means you could be awarded either of the cars, and you can drive either of the cars, regardless of whose name the title is in. So no worries.

Report Abuse
Answered on Oct 11th, 2011 at 10:57 AM
It does not matter who holds the title to the vehicles. All property which is acquired during the marriage is community property regardless as to the form of title. The police will not arrest you for theft when you explain that you are married and that the cars were purchased during the marriage. You may wish to file for a divorce as soon as possible so that your interests are protected.

Report Abuse
Answered on Oct 11th, 2011 at 9:33 AM
As you are married, these are marital vehicles, and you can drive them. The police cannot charge you with theft. If you divorce, you could receive one or both vehicles. The value of the vehicles in a divorce is their blue book value, less whatever is owed on them. If you take a vehicle, you will owe you husband one-half of any net value. Also, if you take a vehicle, you also are responsible for the debt owed on it.

Report Abuse
Armand Fried
Partner at
  • 0/5.0
  • 0
no peer reviews
n/a
no client reviews
Answered on Oct 11th, 2011 at 1:52 AM
The vehicles will definitely be part of the divorce decree issued by the judge. If your husband unreasonably refuses to let you drive a car you need to get the court involved. Even if you have the right to drive one of the cara, if he calls the cops and has you arrested, you are the one in trouble, so I would apply to the court for interim relief as soon as possible. I would seek an order allowing you to drive the car that you drove before the breakup with your husband. I would also seek any other interim relief that makes sense like spousal/child support, maintenance of medical/dental coverage if applicable and no depleting/secreting of the family funds.

Report Abuse
  • 4.4/5.0
  • 0
  • 1
4.4/5.0
n/a
no client reviews
BV Distinguished
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 11:51 PM
No, that is not true. What you are entitled to in the divorce is a fair share of the marital property. A big part of the divorce process is determining what is and is not marital property so it is not possible to give a simple answer to your questions.

Report Abuse
Steven D. Dunnings
Partner at
  • 4.4/5.0
  • 0
  • 1
4.4/5.0
n/a
no client reviews
BV Distinguished
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 5:45 PM
If the cars are titled in his name only, then he could call the police saying you stole the car. In a divorce, you could get one of the vehicles. If you do decide to divorce, hire an attorney.

Report Abuse
n/a
no client reviews
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 5:43 PM
If the cars were acquired during marriage, then they are most likely community property. Please seek counseling - this kind of financial abuse is a form of domestic violence.

Report Abuse
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 5:10 PM
You can drive cars in another person's name, regardless of who they are. Also, you may be entitled to one or more of the vehicles, depending on certain facts in the marriage. Consult an attorney to make sure your rights are protected and you are in the best possible outcome.

Report Abuse
no peer reviews
n/a
no client reviews
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 5:03 PM
He can't have you arrested if you are married. Whether or not they are in your name, you have a legal interest in them.

Report Abuse
Jay W. Neff
Partner at
  • 0/5.0
  • 0
no peer reviews
n/a
no client reviews
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 4:47 PM
A car that is purchased during the marriage is presumptively community property. That means that each of you owns an undivided interest in the car, regardless of whose name it is titled in. Could your spouse call the police if you drive one of "his" cars? I suppose that he could. However, as long as you can produce proof of who you are and that you are married to him, I cannot imagine the police doing much about it. More to the point, I have to wonder about why you are staying with someone who is that much of a control freak. You may be better off getting the divorce underway sooner rather than later. Further, the court, at a temporary orders hearing, can order who gets to use which cars on a temporary basis. In terms of who will ultimately end up with the cars, that is a question that can't really be answered with the information available.

Report Abuse
  • 5.0/5.0
  • 0
  • 1
n/a
no client reviews
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 4:46 PM
Married couple in Minnesota have a undivided interest in all marrital property. Assuming the cars were purchased surfing the marriage, you have as much right to drive either catastrophe he does. This assumes that you have told me everything. The police would likely tell him this is a civil matter and not get involved if he called.

Report Abuse
no peer reviews
0 recommendation
1 client review
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 4:46 PM
Your husband is incorrect. In California, assets such as cars that are acquired during marriage are community property.

Report Abuse
4.4/5.0
n/a
no client reviews
BV Distinguished
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 4:46 PM
Your husband is bluffing. If the cars were acquired or paid for during the marriage, they are subject to equal division, even if the titles are in his name alone.

Report Abuse
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 4:46 PM
Despite the fact that the cars are titled in his name, if you are legally married, and particularly if you reside at the same location, you would be entitled to drive one of the cars. I suggest that you make sure that the car is insured in case he decides to remove the insurance and leave you to drive an uninsured vehicle.

Report Abuse
no peer reviews
n/a
no client reviews
Answered on Oct 10th, 2011 at 4:43 PM
Everything you both own is considered marital property unless it is excluded by prenup or it is inheritance. In a divorce the court determines what is excluded. If they were purchased or paid for during the marriage, they are marital property and won't be excluded.

Report Abuse

Ask a Lawyer

Lawyers from our extensive network are ready to answer your question.

0 out of 150 characters