My friend lives with her boyfriend; they are in the process of separating. Last year they bought a car together. He put down $4000, from the sale of his truck. My friend paid the balance- maybe $14,000. Both their names are on the title. He has been driving the car, and she has another car she currently drives. She wants the car he is driving back, as they are separating. He refuses to give her the keys. He says she cannot drive the car as she is not on the insurance policy for the vehicle. This sounds like an excuse to me. She wants to pay him his $4000, and get the car's title in her name only. How can she do this?
He will need to get her name removed from the vehicle, which may require a court order, which would require some form of action to quiet title filed in Superior Court. if she wants the vehicle, she will need to file an action in Superior Court for possession and to remove his name, which will likely require a showing that she has the exclusive right to the vehicle, such as by proof of paying most or all of the price. If she cannot do that, then I doubt that her case will result in such an order. If neither party has the exclusive right to the vehicle, a court could order one party to pay the other side to buy out that person's interest. The insurance issue is not an issue, as anyone who drives the vehicle is covered, if they have insurance, but it is best if they have the vehicle specified with their insurance policy if they drive it regularly, to ensure that the insurance company will pay for any collision damage, above the deductible. You may need to consult an attorney about this, I am not aware of a standardized court form, though it is something that family law attorneys handle regularly as to spouses and quasi-community property relations.
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You can sue for partition of personal property and/or the return of the money invested in the car in small claims court. You can sue for either the return of the car (so long as it's worth less than $10,000) or for the return of the $10,000 and to be taken off title. Here is a legal guide that may help: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/litigating-your-dispute-in-small-claims-court
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