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LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Research Attorney; Private Practice; Attorney Mentor; Mediator
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I am getting a divorce and have been paying all the bills to

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I am getting a divorce and have been paying all the bills to date. I have a car loan on a car that I have been making payments on for a year. The car is solely my liability and in my name. At court because my soon to be ex- wife has not paid any of the bills, including the insurance the judge now has her paying the car note. This bill has been on a automatic payment schedule from my checking account for 13 months. She now wants to pay the note from her account. I want her to pay me and I will leave the payments as there are set up. The car and loan are in my name only, what should I do about this.

LegalGems :

Hi! LegalGems here. I'll do my best to assist you.I can only provide general information, so a follow up consult with a private lawyer is recommended. That is unusual for the judge to order this in this manner, as it provides no protection to the consumer whose credit would be affected (and property repo'd) in the event of nonpayment.

LegalGems :

One option would be to come to an informal agreement (meaning in writing, but not via a court order, so you don't need to incur additional legal expenses in getting the order) that the support payments will be reduced according to the price of the car payment. Another option, which is generally preferred (informal modifications of child support orders can get messy) is to request that she notify you with proof of payment prior to the due date of each month. This would allow you to cure any deficiencies, and save your credit. If you have the time, you may want to request a modification of the court order, asking that she provide written proof of payment in a timely manner (ie one that would allow you to cure in the event of non payment).

LegalGems :

Since the judge specifically ordered her to pay the loan, you cannot force her to pay you first. However, since it is a court order, any violation of it could result in contempt charges being brought against her.

Customer: So if i understand you, her making the car loan payment can affect my credit if she doesn't make the payment on time or not at all. But if she does make the payment each month on time all is okay. At some point does her making these payments on my loan, in my name give her any legal right to the car?
Customer: Can she make six payments and it now be her car?
LegalGems :

Not if it is court ordered pursuant to the divorce decree; it sounds like it was to compensate for previously unpaid bills. And you are correct on the credit reporting issue.

LegalGems :

The divorce decree did not give her ownership of the car, correct? Often times in a divorce, one spouse will be ordered to pay a debt as a division of marital property (to either offset one party receiving more assets, or because of some equitable reason) but the other party retains the ownership interest. I've seen courts do this with insurance too, and I always urge customers to put the insurer on notice that if the payment is not received to notify the individual ASAP so there are no liability concerns (if the insurance lapses).

LegalGems :

Did you have any questions on the above? I will be going offline shortly and wanted to make sure you didn't have further questions?

Customer: Thank you for all your help!
LegalGems :

You are very welcome. Take Care!

Customer: You also.
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