Should Cars Be Owned Jointly in Florida?

The general mantra for married couples in Florida is “joint assets, separate liabilities.” Owning assets jointly takes advantage of tenants by entireties protection against either spouse’s separate debt.

But does that mantra extend to a couple’s vehiciles? Generally no.

Unlike most personal property, vehicles are a common source of joint liability. In Florida, a person injured in an auto accident can sue not only the at-fault driver, but also the owner of the vehicle that the at-fault driver was driving.

When a couple owns their vehicles jointly, then they can both be sued no matter who was driving the car. This joint liability will render ineffective any claim of tenants by entireties.

The better practice is usually for each spouse to own separately the vehicle they most commonly drive. Most likely this results in separate liability should one of them cause a car accident. For the few situation where one person drives the other person’s car, they should get adequate car insurance, or even an umbrella insurance policy.

About the Author

Gideon Alper specializes in asset protection planning for individuals and their families.

Gideon Alper

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