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Bouldin Law Firm
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Can I Take The Car?

In the beginning of a divorce a common question is: Can I take the car?  The short answer is: generally, Yes. If parties are married there is a presumption that all property is marital.  This is obviously not the case, as often property can be determined to be non-marital by virtue of inheritance, gift or premarital asset.  That is up to proof to be shown in the family/divorce court and is the burden of the party alleging the non-marital interest. Because of the nature of marital property, it is impossible to steal from your spouse.  The police will not generally become involved over personal property, including an automobile.  The courts may issue temporary orders in cases where the parties cannot agree.  Generally, if there is more than one vehicle the court will award one to each party.  I say generally because there are no absolutes in divorce law. If you have a car, the title of the vehicle is almost irrelevant.  I am asked on a weekly bases if there is any marital interest in vehicles, boats, and real estate if the property is titled to the other party.  The answer is almost always YES.  Unless a piece of property (real or personal) is wholly owned prior to marriage, is not improved or modified and is unchanged, there is likely a marital component.  For example, even if your spouse owned a home prior to marriage, if there were payments made on a mortgage or improvements made to the property, there is a marital interest.  Do not confuse this with an equal interest.   The value of the marital interest may be the amount by which it was improved or that the equity increased.  There is also a formula which may be used to determine the marital and non-marital interest in real estate.  In Kentucky, this is commonly referred to as Brandenburg formula.  This is named after the case of Brandenburg v. Brandenburg from Kentucky Court of Appeals that outlines the formula to be utilized. If you are separating and starting a divorce, ask your attorney prior to taking, moving or selling any assets.  If you do not have an attorney and you reside in Northern Kentucky, call the Bouldin Law Firm for a consultation.  Contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

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