So I took the car back, but my son received notice of a hearing date where his wife will argue that she should be entitled to the car because she frequently drove it during their marriage.
Will the judge make me – the owner of the vehicle – give the car back to her?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Nebraska divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
Based on the set of facts you have given me, it would appear you are not a party to the upcoming hearing, although you own the vehicle. I would stress that it is imperative that you consult counsel about the possibility of appearing and intervening at the hearing, though, or whether this is an option that is necessary.
It would stand to reason that individuals cannot have hearings and request property that is not owned by them, as is the instance with the vehicle you own. The action to retrieve belongings wrongfully held by another is called a replevin action.
Should you be served with notice, you would then be required to come to court and prove your lawful ownership, and that the vehicle is not being withheld by you unlawfully. This may require you showing documentation of the vehicle, sales receipts, registration, etc.
Currently, based on the set of facts you have given, you are not a party to the hearing or suit as you have not received any formal notice. This would mean she has not served you with summons or notice of the suit to retrieve the vehicle, which in the jurisdictions I practice in, is required.
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Your son will therefore want to consult counsel about the divorce and his rights and obligations regarding marital property. He will also want to seek counsel for representation at the hearing on the vehicle.
It would be my understanding your son could not represent he currently owns the vehicle and therefore cannot represent he has any property to turn over to her at the hearing.
I urge you to seek more in-depth legal advice from a qualified family law attorney in your state to discuss you and your son’s options further, including to determine if your state’s laws would allow your son’s wife to claim the vehicle.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.