If my estranged wife had her car repossessed, can they still get a deficiency judgement against me?

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If my estranged wife had her car repossessed, can they still get a deficiency judgement against me?

Since she had first became delinquent in 2007 then made some payments after that before stopping any payments entirely when they contacted me I did what I could to try and help them track her and the vehicle down since I was a signer on the note. After all this time can they sue me for the deficiency since I have not received anything from them since a certified letter letting me know they would auction it off a week after they took the car in 2009?

Asked on July 20, 2011 Oklahoma

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, since both of your names are on the loan that means that you are both "jointly and severally liable".  When she defaulted so did you. Consequently if the car is sold for less than the outstanding loan amount (this is almost always the case), you are on the hook for the deficiency.

All that having been said, you may have some defenses here. With respect to notice, typically both signers do not need to be given separate notice but check your documents to see if that's true. If not you may be able to counter their claim. Also, did your divorce degree state who the responsible party was with respect to paying off the loan? If it did and it was your wife, you can get reimbursed from her for any out-of-pocket you may have to pay as a result of the default. Note: the lender will still have a claim against you since they were not a party to your divorce.


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