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Roger, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Can I sell my ex-husbands car that he left in my garage He

Resolved Question:

Can I sell my ex-husband's car that he left in my garage? He asked me to keep it for 2 months while he went to South America, and it has been more than 3 months now. I don't want to store it anymore, and I don't know when, or even if, he is coming back. I can't reach him. He has disconnected his phone, and he doesn't respond to my emails. I could just park it on the street and let it get towed, but he owes me several thousand dollars in child support, and if I just let it get towed, then nobody profits (except maybe the tow truck guy). What is the law regarding items that are abandoned on my property. How long does is have to be abandoned before I can claim it? What is a reasonable amount of effort to notify him that he needs to move it? If I can claim it as my own, how do I get the title transferred to my name so that I can sell it? I have the keys and the title, but the title is, obviously, in his name.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

If his name is XXXXX XXXXX title to the vehicle (alone or along with your name), he would have to sign off on the title and bill of sale in order to transfer the vehicle.


You can't sell the vehicle unless you own it outright.


Also, you can't consider this abandoned property if it is left at his house which he owns.


All you can do is file for divorce, claim that you don't know where he is (summons to him will be published), and ask the court in the divorce decree to award you title to the car. Once you're awarded ownership of the vehicle, you can do whatever you want with it.


If you decide to divorce, you should see a local lawyer to handle this because of the notice requirements, etc.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It is not at his house- it's at my house, and we have been divorced for nearly 6 years now. Can I consider it abandoned property if he left it at my house?
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

Technically, he didn't abandon it if you agreed to keep it. However, since you can't get in touch with him to remove the vehicle, you can inform your local law enforcement officers that he has abandoned the vehicle and they can come and impound it. Here's the statute:


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
But if I have it impounded, that still doesn't do me any good except to get it off my property. What happens to it after that? Does it go to auction or something? Or if he doesn't claim it within a certain amount of time, can I claim it? I'm not just out to make money, but seriously, he owes me about $16,000 in child support that I'm probably never going to see because he won't get a real job. Now he's disappeared to South America and I don't know if he's ever coming back. What I really need to know is if there is any way I can legally claim this car. I'll count it as child support. It just seems a waste to get rid of the car without getting something out of it.
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

If he owes you child support, you should file a motion with the court to attach and sell his car to generate money to pay his back child support.


The only way you can sell the car is with a court order, and because you agreed to accept the vehicle, it's going to be hard for you to claim that he abandoned it UNLESS you can get him a written notice that you now consider it abandoned.


However, if he owes you child support, that's a different story. You should be able to get a court order to attach and sell the property in order to pay you child support arrearages.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Awesome. How do I do that? Do I need to get a lawyer? Or can I file a motion myself?
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

I think you need a lawyer because he's out of the country - whereabouts unknown. In these cases, there are notice procedures you must go through to ensure that his due process rights are protected. You don't want to miss a step or it could void the entire action.


It's best to hire a lawyer to make sure this is done right. Because this will apparently be uncontested - because he's nowhere to be found - it should not cost too much.

Roger and 6 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you.

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