Can Vehicles Acquired Prior To Marriage Be Considered Marital Property In A West Virginia Divorce?

One question that comes up during a West Virginia divorce is if motor vehicles can ever have a marital component when they are bought prior to the date of the marriage. The answer to that question is yes. Sometimes under very specific circumstances, a motor vehicle that was acquired prior to a marriage can have marital component to it. Let’s say that one has a marital or non-marital vehicle and it was acquired prior to them getting married. If they put the title of the vehicle in your spouse’s name, then it’s very clear that at that point, there is going to be a marital component to that vehicle. It’s going to be subject to equitable distribution.

Another situation is when there is a loan associated with the vehicle. For example, let’s say that one bought a new vehicle prior to the marriage. If they put almost nothing down and took out a loan of let’s say in the amount of about $30,000 and that loan was paid down over the course of the marriage, such that by the time you get to the point where you’re separating, the $30,000 loan is paid off. What will happen in that instance, the equity that has been built up in the vehicle by the pay down in the loan could be considered to be marital. That’s one thing that happens sometimes.

What will happen is that’s going to go into the equation when it comes to a property distribution that doesn’t necessarily mean one person is going to have to pay the other person 15,000. The point of it though is that that’s going to be something that is factored into the equitable distribution. If the spouse is building up debt with a vehicle or even the other forms of debt as well like credit cards, mortgages, anything like that, then it can in some instances have a marital component. This is important to know when trying to figure out a fair solution that is going to be consistent with West Virginia law.Pritt CTA (1).png