What to do about a car being used bya non-registered owner?

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What to do about a car being used bya non-registered owner?

I have a vehicle that I bought with an ex that we financed. I am the primary and he is the secondary. The vehicle is titled only in my name. The NC registration is only in my name and the tax documents are only in my name. I had to go to AL to get the car because he was not making payments and the only law he broke was “unauthorized use”. Does he have legal rights to come and take the vehicle back? If not, does this now become a theft situation and not a unauthorized use?

Asked on October 27, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Although on the outside it may seem that the cards are stacked against your ex with the title and all in your name, if he can prove that there was an agreement between the two of you on the purchase of the vehicle - which is easy with the financing agreement - then when the dust settles I believe that a court would find you both owners and there would be no "unauthorized use."  I would be very careful to report the vehicle "stolen" because if he can prove ownership you would be in deep trouble.  Can you two work this out?  If he can not pay the loan any longer come to some written agreement as to true ownership and then you should refinance the car in to your name alone.  Good luck.


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