If I was in a very abusive relationship with my child’s father and left for another state in my car which is registered in his name, can I be charged with car theft?

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If I was in a very abusive relationship with my child’s father and left for another state in my car which is registered in his name, can I be charged with car theft?

After he hit me and threatened to kill me, I took my child out of state to be with family and get to safety. I used the car that he bought me to do this, however it is still in his name. Now that we are here, my ex has reported the car stolen and says the only payment I can give him is signing a document stating he will not pay child support. Otherwise, I am going to jail for auto theft and he will take our son. I have the car. I need it for work but I’m scared I’m going to get stopped driving and go to jail. What am I supposed to do with the car? I have several earlier text messages from him stating that I could drive it.

Asked on July 5, 2015 under Family Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First of all getting yourself away from him is the best thing that you could have done.  But since you have not said that you are amrried then I worry that you will be charged with theft if stopped with the car. So I would have it returned to him (maybe by another family member) and then I would get a restraining order against him for ou and your child.  He can not avoid child support but if you really want him out of your life speak with a lawyer about terminating parental rights (which will stop support).  Good luck.


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