Can She report the car as stolen?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can She report the car as stolen?

My brother is currently filing for a divorce, I am buying the car off of him. His
soon to be ex wife is threatening to report the car as stolen even though I
picked the keys up from her and have the messages of her telling me to pick it
up. Also my brother is the only one on the title since he bought the car before
they were technically married.

Asked on December 5, 2017 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If your brother owned the vehicle prior to marriage, then it is his separate property and he has the exclusive right to determine what happens to the vehicle.....generally.
However, if a divorce has been filed and the court has ordered the parties not to dispose of any property until the court officially declares who owns what property...then he cannot sell the vehicle. So, this would be the exception to your brother's right to sell the vehicle to you.
Your question goes a bit further however, concerning whether or not the soon to be ex- can report the vehicle as stolen.  The answer is that she does not have the legal right to do so if she is not the owner, but that may not stop her from at least attempting to report it stolen.  In that case, your brother will need to make sure he clarifies to law enforcement that this is his "separate property", not community property, and that he did, in fact, sell it to you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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