Can I report my car as stolen if my estranged spouse has not returned it?

UPDATED: Jun 14, 2009

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Can I report my car as stolen if my estranged spouse has not returned it?

My estranged spouse filed a false restraining order and was granted use of MY vehicle from before the marriage. We signed a stipulation ending the RO and a judge signed it. Her attorney told her she has no legal right to the car anymore.  I have asked for it back in the past, but have felt bad because she doesn’t have money for a new one and we have a son. I sent her an email stating I wouldn’t pressure her for the car and I haven’t for over a month. She is now destroying the car: dents, scratches, and she is not doing any maintainence (brakes need changing). Also the licensing is up. I want it back asap.  Can I report it as stolen?

Asked on June 14, 2009 under Family Law, California


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

No, technically not stolen but more likely converted or improper bailment. If there is an order requiring the vehicle be given back to you, then take her to court. But you would that with her having your son? The court may not necessarily side with you.

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