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My husband's ex girlfriend signed a loan for him to purchase a vehicle before we got married. Since then, he has continued paying on the vehicle the entire time we have been married. He is now in jail. Do I have the rights to the vehicle. Should I be making the payments? Or does she still legally own the vehicle and is held responsible? (My husband and I have been married for 4 years in which he has been the one making the payments.) Also, due to him being in jail, if we proceed with a divorce, will the truck be an asset in the divorce hearing?

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    Who is on the title of the vehicle? – David Schwartz Feb 25 '18 at 3:05
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Whoever signed the loan owes the money to the bank for the truck. So, in this case it is probably both your husband and his ex girlfriend.

Whoever is listed on the title of the vehicle as the registered owner has the full exclusive use of the vehicle. That is probably your husband.

Any person who co-signed for a loan owns nothing and has rights to nothing. Co-signing a loan just means that the signer agrees to pay off the loan. In this case the girlfriend does not, nor has ever owned the vehicle.

If payments are not made on the vehicle, the owner of the loan (probably a bank) will repossess the vehicle and take ownership of it. At that point they will become the registered owner.

Your main options are:

  • Refinance the car. You take your own loan and buy out your husband and his girlfriend. Both of them and the bank would have to agree to this. You would become the registered owner of the car.

  • Make a set-off agreement. In this case, you offer your husband a deal: you will make the payments on the car, if you get the use of the car and a percentage of the sale price in the event the car is sold.

  • Try to get a judge to award you the car in the divorce. In this scenario, the judge would order that you become the registered owner of the car, but the girlfriend and your husband would still be responsible for paying the loan. The risk here is that both will default on the loan and the car will get repossessed.

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Do I have the rights to the vehicle.

No. From what you've written, there's nothing to indicate you have any ownership rights to the vehicle.

You cannot use the vehicle without the owner's permission.

Should I be making the payments?

No.

If you make payments, you should think of those payments as a gift to your husband and/or his ex-girlfriend. Gifts are not loans and are not repaid, you don't get anything in return - other than preventing the lender taking the vehicle away.

does she still legally own the vehicle

Probably not.

and is held responsible?

The lender may ask her to make payments. It seems unlikely that she would.

If we proceed with a divorce, will the truck be an asset in the divorce hearing?

I expect so. It also depends how much is owing and how much it is worth. The net value might be close to zero.

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