Can my mom take my car if both our names is on the title? 6 Answers as of January 03, 2011My mother and I co-signed on my car 1.5 years ago, and I have been making the payments. I also have the car insurance in my name. However, she is threatening to repossess it from under me because of a disagreement. Can she do this legally? I cannot afford another car.
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
You may have heard the old adage, "Possession is nine-tenths of the law". While often true, practically speaking, the issue here depends upon a couple of factors. The first and probably most important, is the manner in which title is held between you and your mother. Does the Title ("Pink Slip") read '[Mother's Name] or [Your Name]', or '[Mother's Name] and [Your Name]'? If the Title lists you as alternate owners ("or"), then either of you can act independently regarding the title and ownership of the car (i.e., sell it, keep it, etc.). If the Title reads "and", then, theoretically at least, any action regarding title or ownership and possession of the car would require both of your signatures. Unfortunately, I have seen, time after time, how one party in a divorce, for example, will forge the ex-spouse's signature and have a new Title issued, and then sequester or sell the vehicle. Another factor in your case is whether your mother can gain actual physical access to the car. More important than that is that you have been making the payments and are insuring the car. You do not say whether she made a down payment for you on the car, which would affect her rights, but particularly if she didn't, you have the much stronger case shouldthis proceed to legal action. In other words, she probably cannot legally take your car.
Answer Applies to: California