Getting divorced is difficult enough without having to deal with transferring car titles. In Georgia, the rules regarding car title transfers between spouses after a divorce can be confusing. This blog breaks down the steps and requirements for successfully transferring car titles after a divorce in Georgia.
Going through a divorce is an emotionally draining time. On top of dealing with the end of a marriage, there are many legal and financial details that must be addressed. One often overlooked issue is what to do about cars titled in both spouses’ names. Georgia has specific laws regarding title transfers between spouses after a divorce. Read on to learn about the process and requirements to properly transfer car titles in Georgia after a divorce.
How Car Titles are Titled in Georgia The first step is understanding how car titles work in Georgia. Georgia is a certificate of title state. This means the paper car title is the official legal document showing ownership. Car titles can be titled in:
- One spouse’s name only
- Jointly in both spouses’ names with a conjunction like “and”
- Jointly in both spouses’ names with a conjunction like “or”
Joint titles using “and” require permission from both spouses to transfer or sell the car. Joint titles using “or” allow either spouse to transfer or sell the car without permission from the other.
Determine How Your Car is Titled Before going through the title transfer process, determine how the car is currently titled. The title will state if the car is individually or jointly owned. For jointly titled cars, check if “and” or “or” is used.
This determines what steps must be taken to transfer ownership after the divorce. If the car is individually owned, the process is straightforward. If jointly owned, follow the additional steps outlined below.
Transferring Title for Individually Owned Cars For cars titled in one spouse’s name only, the process is simple:
- The owner (and current titleholder) signs over the title to transfer ownership to themselves or whoever they choose.
- Complete the title transfer paperwork and application.
- Pay title transfer fees.
- Submit paperwork to the GA Department of Revenue for a new title.
The non-titled, ex-spouse does not have to do anything since their name isn’t on the current title.
Transferring Jointly Titled Cars in Georgia Jointly titled cars require additional steps depending on if “and” or “or” is used:
Joint With “And” If the title uses “and”, both spouses must sign the title transfer paperwork, even if the ownership is being transferred to only one spouse. The steps are:
- Both spouses must agree to remove the other spouse from the title and sign transfer paperwork.
- Complete title transfer application and pay fees.
- Submit signed title and application to the GA DOR.
The GA DOR will then issue a new title in the single spouse’s name only.
Joint With “Or” For joint titles using “or”, either spouse can transfer ownership without permission from the other. The spouse keeping the car can transfer title solely into their name by:
- Signing over title to themselves only.
- Filing transfer paperwork and paying fees.
- Submitting application to the GA DOR.
The GA DOR will issue a new title with the spouse’s name as sole owner.
What If a Spouse Refuses to Transfer Title?
Sometimes a spouse may refuse to sign their interest in a jointly titled car over to the other spouse. If it is joint with “and”, this can prevent the transfer. In this case, the spouse wanting sole ownership may need to go to court to compel the transfer.
An experienced divorce attorney can help with disputes over jointly titled cars and assist with completing the proper court motions. The court can order the unwilling spouse to comply with signing over their title interest.
Divorcing spouses have enough to cope with emotionally and financially without vehicle title hassles adding to the stress. Understanding Georgia’s title transfer laws can make the process smoother. Transferring car titles properly ensures that both spouses keep the vehicles they are rightly entitled to after a marriage ends. With some guidance on the steps involved, spouses can successfully transfer car titles after divorce and move forward.