What to do if I have a vehicle that was givein to me by my ex-boyfriend for Christmas and now he is now trying to take it away from me?

UPDATED: Mar 28, 2012

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What to do if I have a vehicle that was givein to me by my ex-boyfriend for Christmas and now he is now trying to take it away from me?

I have many witnesses saying that it was a gift, including the person we bought the jeep from. If he does take this to court, will I lose? Does he have the right to take it back after he had gifted it to me?

Asked on March 28, 2012 under Business Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if something is gifted, the giver cannot later take it back; once it is gifted, it belongs to the recipient.

In this case, the ex-boyfriend is trying to dispute that the car was a gift--he's presumably claiming that he just loaned it to you or otherwise let you use it. For him to recover the car if you refuse to give it back, he will have to sue you and win. To win, he would have to prove "by a preponderance of the evidence"--that is, that it is more likely than not--that the car was not a gift. If he sues you, the case may come down to  a test or credibility--yours vs. his, as well as your other witnesses vs. any other witnesses he has--though the advantage is yours, since as the one suing, the burden would be on him to prove his case by, as stated, a preponderance of the evidence.

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