Vehicle law concerning joint ownership of car by separated couple

Asked about 4 years ago - Asheboro, NC

my brother just separated from his wife and the title to the car is in both names. If my brother presently uses the car can she forcibly seize the car and take possession of it without his consent.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Mark S Williams

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . If there is no court order, no separation agreement and no written document, then yes the car can be retrieved by the other spouse. However, the car could be "sequestered" for the exclusive use and benefit of one spouse to the exclusion of the other through a court order or agreement.

    It would be best to aimcably agree to resolve the divorce issues through a separation agreement.

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    Disclaimer: Information posted for educational / informational purposes only. No attorney client relationship created through the use of this web site. Information pertains to the State of North Carolina only. See our website, for more information.

    Rice Law, PLLC
    401 Chestnut Street, Suite G
    Wilmington, NC 28401
    (910) 762-3854

  2. Robert Anthony Hartsoe


    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . In addition to Mark's answer, your brother needs to be aware that although they are separated, the law presumes that the driver of a vehicle is on a mission for the owner if there is an accident, and thus he can be sued for damages in an accident, even if his wife is the one who had care, custody, and control of the vehicle at the time of the accident. This is another good reason to pursue a separation agreement.

    We would be glad to discuss this further with your brother in a consultation in our Greensboro offices and can set an immediate appointment. There is likely much more to consider than your brother is proably aware of at the moment and regardless of who he sees, he should consult an attorney.

    Tony Hartsoe
    Attorney & Certified Family Law Mediator
    Hartsoe & Associates, P.C.

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