Detroit, MI asked in Divorce, Family Law and Small Claims for Ohio

Q: My ex and i have a suv together. He took it from me while i was at work. Can I take it back in the same manner?

4 years ago we bought the suv together. 2 years ago I found him cheating, and kicked him out. He kept the car we paid off, and I drove (and paid for) that one. The other night I was at work, and he came and took the car. He sent me a text message saying he had it and to not report it stolen. He wouldn't respond to me whatsoever. Am I allowed to retrieve it in the same manner? I had a whole bunch of my possessions and my kids' possessions in the car. He also took my banking information from it (cops were notified). Do I have any legal options?

1 Lawyer Answer
Joseph Jaap
Joseph Jaap
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: It depends on if he is an ex-boyfriend or an ex-spouse. If he is an ex-spouse, then the divorce decree and property separation agreement determine who gets the vehicle. But an unmarried couple does not have the same legal process for dividing a vehicle as in a divorce when they split up. If he is an ex-boyfriend, the owner is the person(s) named on the vehicle title. If both of you are on the title, then both of you are entitled to possession, then you could take it back the same way, and taking it back is not theft, although if he reports to the police as stolen, the driver could be stopped. Carry a copy of the vehicle title with you. If both of you paid for the car, then if you can't work it out, you will have to go to court for a judge to decide on ownership - one of you would have to buy out the other. Use the Find a Lawyer tab to retain a local litigation attorney to review the situation and advise you on recovering your possessions and resolving ownership.

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