What can I do if my father and I got into a disagreement and he will not give me my car keys?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can I do if my father and I got into a disagreement and he will not give me my car keys?

The car is co-signed in my name and his name. He is also refusing to get a key made for me since my car only came with one key. Do I have the right to get a key made if I ask for one and does he have to make one if I ask for one? I don’t want to take my family to court but I need a car. Everything that is in his name is also in my name. We are both adults. What rights do I have as to the keys and to get a key made upon request?

Asked on December 18, 2015 under Business Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

One owner (e.g of a car) cannot exclude the other owner from possession or use of that property, and cannot also stop the other owner from making duplicate keys, etc. You have a legal right to use the car and to have a spare key made, but if he will not voluntarily give you the car and key, your only way to enforce your rights would be to sue him: a lawsuit, and getting a court order or judgment in your favor, is how you legally enforce your rights against other people. There is no other legal way to do this.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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