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I need some advice from someone who is knowledgeable in legal issues/divorce settlement issues...

Synaesthete's picture

I asked about this awhile back but it's still unresolved and quite frankly, FDH and I are sick of having her phone up, play the victim and expect him to rescue her.

So, long story short: In FDH and BM's divorce settlement, it is stated that BM gets the van. It's not very close to being paid off yet. The settlement states that FDH is to transfer the title to BM's name, but the bank won't let him do that until she gets a loan. BM has been denied for a loan from every place she's gone to (she doesn't work and even though she receives and extortionate amount of money from FDH in CS and alimony, it isn't considered "reliable income") and no one is willing to co-sign on a loan with her. Therefore, FDH is stuck holding onto the title and BM is driving around an unregistered van with plates from FDH's state (she lives in a separate state).

She continuously calls him and whines about how unfair it is that the loan companies won't work with her, but hasn't bothered to call her lawyer and see if the fact that it's ordered by the court that she have the van holds any weight with any loan companies or banks. We think she hopes if she whines enough FDH will fraudulently register it in his state (he won't) or co-sign on it with her (he can't and won't).

FDH called the courthouse himself and was told he would have to call counsel and have the agreement modified, which means more legal and filing fees that we'd rather not pay for right now. I guess my question is what alternatives are there? FDH wants it off of his back and would really love to just sell it or have the bank repo it, but we worry that doing so would open him up to be charged with contempt, as it breaks the agreement. That being said, at what point has he fulfilled his end? He can't transfer it until she finds someone to co-sign - she's really only asked her parents and FDH's parents (and FDH of course), so we suspect she hasn't looked that hard for someone to help her.


VAStepMom's picture

He needs to call his LAWYER and get a modification and sell the VAN, and give wife the proceeds after paying off the van loan. While he is at it... he can change anything else he wants to.

Otherwise, suggest to BM that she get one of her parents to co-sign the loan. Or a friend of hers? Do not do it for her.

Honestly... when I divorced, I got the Tahoe and my husband had to pay off the loan.

Synaesthete's picture

It was her lawyer that drew up the settlement, and we just are hesitant to spend all the extra money to file if we don't have to. Like I said, in the OP.

BM's parents declined co-signing. FDH is not at a place where he could help her, even if he wanted to (he doesn't). We suspect she hasn't asked many friends - she has a new boyfriend she could ask but it doesn't sound like she has. *shrug*

And that's great, but it obviously can't work for our situation. We aren't comfortable with him being legally and financially responsible for a vehicle she's driving in another state. I'm glad that that wasn't an issue for you and your ex.

KathyB's picture

You don't necessarily need a lawyer to do this for you. This is not meant to be insensitive, but is a pretty straight-forward thing you are asking for. You should know a little about the system by now. Draft your own letter to her attorney and tell him how you want the Order revised, and state the reasons why. Tell the lawyer that she is not fulfilling her end of the agreement (regardless of anyone co-signing for her - it's her responsibility), and she's driving around in a car that is still owned by your DH and there are liability issues, etc. Tell the lawyer he/she has 15 days to respond, and if he/she does not, you will be filing the appropriate documents with the court, and you will be asking that BM pay the fees to do so, especially if you need your lawyer to appear at any future hearings on the matter, you will ask for attorney's fees. If he/she does not do anything, just go to the courthouse yourself, fill out the appropriate documents, tell the Judge why you need the Order changed and let the Judge rule on it. A Judge is not going to hold you to an agreement that is out of your hands to make happen. It's unethical. Good luck!

poisonivy's picture

"I guess my question is what alternatives are there?"

Unfortunately, there aren't very many alternatives here, that I can see, because now it is a matter for the court to decide if she is in contempt (for not complying) or whether the agreement can be modified to remove the burden from DH. Either way, attorneys will need to be involved. I know that's the last thing you want to hear right now, but at least the monkey will be off your backs.

Synaesthete's picture

*sigh* I was afraid of that. We're hoping we can bring that to her and maybe it will force her hand to ask her friends for help instead of expecting FDH and his family to rescue her. I was just hoping maybe there was an alternative or loophole we hadn't figured out yet. Blum 3

poisonivy's picture

Or, or...

a stick of dynamite, some blasting caps and a match!!!! }:)


I don't wanna get tagged as offensive! Wink

Synaesthete's picture

My apologies, he was ordered to transfer the loan and sign it over. The bank won't let him transfer it to her - she needs to be approved for her own.

Synaesthete's picture

Well, since the van isn't paid off technically the bank owns the title and the loan is in his name so I guess I phrased that poorly. We can't transfer the loan to her - the bank wants her to be approved for a new loan. If they transferred it before the divorce finalized, it would have been easy to transfer the loan to her but now that it is finalized they want her to apply for a new loan. Her lawyer neglected to mention this when she drew up the settlement. The loan was always and remains in FDH's name only, not in both of their names.

It can't be registered because they live in separate states. He can't register it in his state knowing it will never be driven in his state. He can't register it in her state because he doesn't live there. She can't register it in her state because her name isn't on the vehicle.

Synaesthete's picture

I don't know if he can but even if it's the case it would only solve her problem, which is the lack of registration, and not ours which is being responsible for it legally and financially. Also, we're trying to get all of this wrapped up so we have *less* things we need to deal with her on. We could look into it but it would really just satisfy her and leave us with the same issues we currently have and FDH would rather not eliminate the one thing that might make her more likely to co-operate with us on figuring a solution to the loan/ownership issue.

Thanks for your story. God forbid she get a job, or at least start some kind of online schooling to get one once her youngest is in school. If that's the case we'll just have to change the agreement so that FDH retains ownership and can sell it.

JustAnotherSM's picture

If FDH pays alimony, can he work with BM to use that money to pay the loan payment each month? That way "her income" is paying for the van. Then when the van is paid off the title can be transferred to her. If FDH and BM can come to an agreement like this, I believe that a signed copy of the agreement can be filed with the court without necessarily getting lawyers involved.

Synaesthete's picture

We could and that's actually how it's being done right now - he still pays the loan each month and that amount is subtracted from what she gets - but it's the responsibility issue we'd like to revolve.

If they came to an agreement that he would sell the van and transfer that money to her instead, could it be filed the same way (sans lawyers)?

WindX's picture

Can he have the order modified to him selling the van and giving her the money minus any fees associate with selling it and court?

DaizyDuke's picture

I'm in NY and what they do here is file what's called a "Motion To Compell" Basically saying, you are in contempt, I know you are in contempt, now the court knows you are in contempt, so you better hold up your end of the bargain or get ready to pay legal fees and go to court.

Maybe your state has something like this that you could do (I don't think it would cost you a ton of money) and that would light a fire under her ass to get a co-signer?

In NY (and most states I believe) a vehicle can be titled to one person and registered to another. I agree with Luvthemall.. not sure why she can't register that vehicle in her name she would just have to have proof of insurance in her name. Think about it, in a case where someone leases a vehicle, the bank is the title holder and obviously is not on the registration. I think she's playing games.

I would be lighting a fire under her ass pronto... Gawd forbid she get in an accident! In most states the injured party can sue the driver/insurance holder as well as the actual "owner" (title holder) of the vehicle.

Synaesthete's picture

I'm not sure if we have anything like that - it's worth looking into. Smile Having said that, though, it may light enough of a fire to let her know if she doesn't find someone to co-sign she won't get to keep it and you can be she'd be splitting the legal fees with him.

I didn't realize that she could register it with just insurance. It tells me she's not doing it to be manipulative (her catchphrase with all of this is, "It's not fair for the kids to be in an unregistered vehicle") or she's just being half-assed in finding a solution because she's used to everyone else handling things for her, both of which are equally possible.

And yes, the potential liability is where our major concern lies right now. Beee Thanks!

DaizyDuke's picture

I would suggest that YOU call the DMV in her state or check their website and find out EXACTLY what is required for someone to register a vehicle in that state, that way you have the facts and she can't continue to jerk your chain (if that is what she is doing)

I'm sorry but if one is determined enough to do something, you find a way to do it. I bet if she wasn't getting her child support checks she's be working like a mad dog to find out how to fix THAT problem! Light a fire under her ass!!

Good luck!! Wink

p.s. "It's not fair for the kids to be in an unregistered vehicle"?? WTF? She's just like our BM.. tries to make every problem relate back to the Skids that way hubby feels "responsible". Seriously, she could say, " I need you to wipe my ass because if my ass smells, it's not fair to SS" That's how friggin ridiculous statements that are! UGH!

Synaesthete's picture

Thanks! That's largely what we're trying to do, is handle this without having to pay a lawyer. She'd likely co-operate with a modification, as long as it's specified she gets the money so she can put something down on another vehicle.

It would be really nice if all they had to do was, like someone mentioned above, put it in writing and have it notarized but I'm not sure what the laws are - FDH has free consultation and discount legal services though his work, so I guess we'll see what they say.

Synaesthete's picture

Putting it in writing and have it notarized only works for issues that aren't in the original divorce decree. Otherwise you still have to submit it and have a judge sign it and file it with the decree.


Ahh, okay. That kind of stinks but thanks for letting me know. Smile

And you would think so, but that would make way too much sense!

Synaesthete's picture

Well the group he spoke with this afternoon told him to just stop paying the loan. *shrug* There are two deals right now - the one between him and the bank, and the one between he and BM. He's held up his end of the contract between he and BM and it's her responsibility to do the other half. He's not legally obligated to keep paying for the van for her.

As far as the contract between him and bank goes, there will be a 60 day grace period and then they'll repossess it should BM not have a co-signer to take over the loan by then. End of story, unless BM can get her shit together and complete her half of the deal.

According to that lawyer, he doesn't even really need to make modifications to the settlement. She can press for it if she wants, but as it stands he's taken the required action on his end and it's "good faith" for him she can't charge him with contempt for not continuing payments.

I guess the ball's in her court now.

Synaesthete's picture

Well, there's a couple of things to consider there. The first is that the lawyer said the settlement agreement more or less releases him from the responsibility of paying for the van, even if she can't uphold her end of the agreement by getting a loan. I asked him this when he first told me, too.

The other thing to consider is that that he was left with the house in the divorce settlement, which he can't afford to make payments on and will eventually have to foreclose on so really his credit can't get a whole lot worse right now. I know some places, when they see a credit score that low, will cut you some slack if it's noted that it was due to a divorce but it still stinks.