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In divorce documents, "wife" was to hold harmless me with an…

In divorce documents, "wife"...

In divorce documents, "wife" was to hold harmless me with an auto loan that is in my name. The vehicle now has a blown engine and she is relinquishing the vehicle. What are my legal rights?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is this in? And how old is the car?

Georgia. Car is 2006 with a loan on it of $5300 still

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Divorce was October 2016. Now that the engine is dead, she told me to take care of the vehicle, that she was reliquishing it. Nothing in writing.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not that I can think of at this time.

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Answered in 2 minutes by:
3/14/2018
legalgems
legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13,923
Experience: Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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Is the party relinquishing the car to the lender (ie voluntary surrender)?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The loan is in my name, but the divorce papers states she is responsible for the vehicle and there's a hold-harmless against me stated.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
She is relinquishing the car to me.

The order as written is controlling until it is modified; as such the party responsible for the loan will continue to be responsible and would need to reimburse the other party if they make payments.

However if there is a change of circumstances the court may alter the order upon motion of either party; there is no legal obligation for the other party to accept possession/responsibility for the auto but if they do that can be grounds for the court to remove the hold harmless provision.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
She called me and told me that she blew the engine on the car and that she can't pay to fix it. That I need to do something with it now and that she has to find a new vehicle. She is holding me responsible for everything with the car now. I cannot afford to pay for any repairs on it nor pay for the loan on the vehicle as the divorce papers said she was responsible for it. I feel my only option is to voluntary surrender the auto to the lender, but there will be a large sum that I am certain they will hold me responsible after they sell the car. With the "hold harmless", will I be able to make her pay that large sum difference?

The court documents will be controlling as one party cannot unilaterally change that order/decree.

If the car is voluntarily surrendered and the lender sues for any deficiency then the spouse that is to be held harmless can sue the other spouse for reimbursement of any monies paid.

One may also seek a court order directing the other spouse to pay any such sums owed to the lender.

The court may only make orders as to the parties and may not direct the lender to collect from a specific party which is why there is a hold harmless option.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Very well. Thank you. I guess I have no choice but to relinquish the vehicle to the lender and suffer with the hit to my credit and such, and then try to sue my ex for the monies I have to pay.

That is one of the negatives of the hold harmless provision but the court does not have many options since they have no jurisdiction over the lender.

One may seek legal fees if a legal action is necessary to enforce the divorce decree/order.

Contempt is an option but only if the violation of the court order is knowing and willful so if a party can't financially afford to comply unfortunately contempt is not an option.

legalgems
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