Navigating the Sale or Trade of Your Ex-Spouse's Car in Arizona's Community Property State

How to Navigate the Sale or Trade of Your Ex-Spouse’s Car in Arizona

Divorce can be one of the most challenging and devastating experiences a person can go through. Along with emotional distress, divorce often involves complicated legal proceedings, property division disputes, and unforeseen financial challenges. One of the most significant assets to consider when divorcing is a shared vehicle.

Understanding Community Property in Arizona

Arizona is a community property state, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is generally considered community property and must be divided equitably upon divorce. Per Arizona Revised Statute § 25-211, community property includes any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, except for gifts and inheritances.

It means that if you purchased a car during your marriage, it is most likely community property, and both you and your ex-spouse have equal rights to it, including the right to possess, use, or sell it. Consequently, when navigating the sale or trade of your ex-spouse’s car, both parties must reach an agreement.

Tips for Navigating the Sale or Trade of Your Ex-Spouse’s Car

1. Find out the Value of the Car

The first step to determine how to divide custom property is to ascertain the value of the car. There are several ways to determine a car's value, including online valuation tools like Kelley Blue Book, dealerships, or even private sales.

Finding out the value of the car can help you make informed decisions when dividing assets. For instance, if the car is worth $3,000, you may consider either selling the car and splitting the money or allowing one party to keep the car while offsetting its value with other assets.

2. Discuss Ownership

Before selling or trading a car, it is essential to determine who owns the car. If you both co-signed for the car, you are both owners, and either of you can sell it on their own. However, if only one of you is the legal owner, they must give legal authorization for the sale to be valid.

If you are both owners, discuss who wants to keep the car and who wants to sell it. You may need to compromise and consider other assets' division, such as stocks, bonds, or investment accounts.

3. Negotiate a Deal

Once you have decided who owns the car and its value, it is time to negotiate a deal that satisfies both parties. The agreement may include how the sale proceeds will be divided, or one of you will keep the car while the other party gets something of equal value.

Remember to put the agreement in writing and sign it to make it legally binding. It can be a simple contract detailing the terms of the agreement, including the sale price, how the proceeds will be divided, and the date of the sale.

4. Consider Trading the Car-In

If you cannot agree on the sale of the car, consider trading it in for another car. Trading in a car can be an easier solution than selling it, and you both can benefit from it. Discuss with a car dealership that buys cars if they are interested in your car, and once you agree on the trade-in value, the dealership would buy the car from you and offset the price of the new vehicle you wish to purchase.

5. Seek Legal Help

In some cases, dividing assets during divorce proceedings can be overwhelming and complex. If you are having trouble agreeing on car ownership or how to divide its value, you should seek the help of a legal professional. A lawyer can provide objective guidance and help you negotiate an agreement that satisfies both parties.


Dividing custom property like a car can be a challenging process during divorce proceedings, and it is essential to consider the right approach to navigate the sale or trade of your ex-spouse’s vehicle. Understanding Arizona's community property laws, finding out the car's value, negotiating an agreement, and seeking legal help can make the process less stressful and smoother.

For more information on navigating the sale or trade of your ex-spouse’s car, please visit De Novo Law Firm.