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Help! I Need to Get My Ex Off My Car Loan

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We’ve had many readers write in after a divorce, asking how to go about separating their assets with their ex-spouse. One of the most common questions is how to remove an ex from a car loan and title. Here’s how to do it.

You’ll need to refinance the auto loan into your own name to get your ex-spouse off the loan. In essence, you’ll be buying the car from your ex-spouse.

The spouse who is responsible for the car loan payments should be the one to assume credit liability. It’s a really good idea to go through this process right away, regardless of what the divorce decree states. Divorce decrees (or court orders) do not release either person from his/her obligations under the original contract of the loan.

That means that if you and your ex-spouse have a joint account, like an auto loan, and if your spouse who is supposed to pay does not, the negative history will end up on both of your credit reports, and those late payments will damage both of your credit ratings. In fact, the other person may not know about the unpaid account until a collection agency calls.

Removing your ex from the title is similar, except that for this step you’ll need to go through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You both will need to sign a change of title/vehicle ownership form and return it for processing. Check online or call your state’s DMV for details and forms.

In some states you may be able to file a transfer of title between family members (especially if the divorce has not been finalized yet) and in this way avoid another smog certification and paying taxes on the vehicle based on the purchase price. (If you live in the state of California, for example, read more about changing vehicle ownership vs. transferring title.)

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  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    That’s really a question for your divorce lawyer. After a divorce, your assets should be in your name and his assets in his.

  • Kelly

    How do I know if my credit is good enough to refinance?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      You can check with a lender about requirements (and it won’t be score alone — it will also include income, other debt obligations, etc.). It’s smart to get your free annual credit reports
      and check them for accuracy. If you find inaccurate information, you can dispute it, and it should be removed. Some credit card statements now include credit scores. Keep in mind there are hundreds of scoring models, so you want to be sure you compare the same one month to month. Here’s how to monitor your credit score for free.

  • ray

    What if we are never married? Just a friend help a friend but now that friend is not making payments many times.

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      If you co-signed the loan, you are generally responsible for the payments, regardless of the relationship.

      Thank you,


  • leo

    What if you co-own with your parent and they take the car and you want to be removed form the title?

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