If my husband sold my car while I was in jail, what legal recourse do I have?

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If my husband sold my car while I was in jail, what legal recourse do I have?

He received $10,000 for it. He didn’t even tell me that he’d sold it until I got out and asked for my car. He has given me no compensation and no new car. Both of our names were on the pink slip but the car was purchased by me before our marriage. Also, he received a settlement for a PI lawsuit while I was in jail and he hasen’t even told me about it. I found out because a letter was mailed to my house saying that the settlement was paid in full.

Asked on April 2, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Community property is property acquired during marriage.  This also applies to income during marriage and debts incurred during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  This also applies to income before marriage or after the marriage ends and to debts incurred before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.

Since you purchased the car before marriage, it is your separate property.  However, since both your name and your husband's name were on the pink slip, it could be argued that the car was community property.  Since both names were on the pink slip, both you and your husband would have had to consent to the sale.  If you can claim that the car was still your separate property despite both you and your husband being on the pink slip as owners, you could sue your husband for the ten thousand he received for the car.  If the car is community property, then each spouse has a one half interest in the community property and you would be entitled to five thousand in a lawsuit against your husband for the sale of the car.

As for the personal injury award your husband received, that is his separate property even though it occurred during marriage.  Since it is his separate property, you would not have any claim to your husband's personal injury award.


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