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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102192
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I live in VA but have the title to a car that my ex-husband

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I live in VA but have the title to a car that my ex-husband has possession of in MD. My ex-husband paid off the car but I still have the title. My ex owes me $500. Can I repossess the car to pay off the debt? If not, what are my other options? Thanks!
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my reply.

I am sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me if there is anything in writing between you and him OR a court order that gives him the vehicle?

Or, it is yours in title and right, but he simply has it?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There is nothing in writing. At the time of our divorce, he took one car, I took the other and we never changed the title. He continued to pay for the car, keep insurance, etc. The car is now paid off but I still have the title.


What does the divorce say about who gets which vehicle?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It was not discussed in the divorce decree.

Okay, thank you.

This gets a little complicated, so follow me here.

1) Now, if he owes you $500, you cannot simply take whatever property he may have that you may be able to hold and state "well you owe me $500.00, so I am taking this for it." This is not allowed. Only a court can confirm in judgment that he owes you $500, unless you and he have a contract which allows auto-repossession/attachment of collateral if he fails to pay you back; which you do not have.

2) At the same time, the vehicle is yours under title. Without any other contract in place, the title dictates ownership. As such, one can simply REPO the vehicle without him even owing you $500 to begin with. It is YOUR vehicle.

3) But then the divorce comes into play. The divorce leaves out the vehicles. Once/if you repo, he can file a Motion for Clarification to get the Court to confirm who gets which vehicle. The Court may override and order that the titles be exchanged, etc. YOU also have that ability, and may file for clarification before repo'ing, instead.

In short, someone in your situation may wish to:

A) Repo now, and risk him filing for clarification and seeking if the court will affirm who owns the vehicle; or
B) File for clarification NOW, and if you get the vehicle in the clarification order, you can repo it AND also file for contempt if he does not release it.

I know, a little more complicated than a yes or no - my apologies.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the reply button to keep chatting, or please rate and submit your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correctt. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.
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