How to Remove a Divorced Spouse From an Auto Title in Michigan

By Elizabeth Stock

Fountain pen signing paper

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In Michigan, all motor vehicles must have a valid title to be driven within the state. An auto title is a legal document that describes the owner of the vehicle. If you and your former spouse jointly own an automobile, you will need to transfer the ownership of the vehicle to one spouse following the divorce. This can be done by a title transfer.

Obtain legal permission from your former spouse indicating approval of the transfer of the automobile's title to your ownership only. For example, your former spouse must sign the back of the vehicle’s title that indicates her consent to the vehicle title transfer. Usually, this will be one of the conditions to your divorce. If your former spouse is reluctant, the court will help you obtain permission.

Complete all appropriate paperwork. To obtain a new title, you must complete a title application. On the title application, list both spouses as the previous owner, and you as the new owner, but do not sign the application until you are in the Secretary of State’s office.

Confirm that there is no outstanding loan on the vehicle. In Michigan, you will be unable to transfer the title of the vehicle until all outstanding loans are paid. In addition, you may need to obtain a lien termination statement or provide a loan representative's signature on the title to confirm that the outstanding loan has been fulfilled.

Visit the Michigan Secretary of State’s branch office, with all the necessary documents. To complete the transfer, you must must be present at your local Secretary of State’s office. You will be asked to sign the title application. In addition, you must provide a form of identification, such as a driver’s license, and proof of no-fault insurance.

Pay the title transfer fee and use tax. At the time of the transfer, you will need to pay a title transfer fee. In addition, because this transfer is between two unrelated individuals, you will have to pay a use tax of 6 percent of the current value of the automobile.


Because you and your former spouse are no longer married, the title transfer is subject to a 6 percent transfer fee. Spouses that are currently married do not have to pay a fee to transfer ownership. To avoid this fee, transfer the title before the divorce is final.