Mother-in-law wants car back


Dear wfleming52:

Greetings. No, you do not have to return the car if you are making payments. However, if your name is not on the title to the vehicle, they can go and pick it up themselves (a self-help repossession so to speak) and that is perfectly legal. My advice is to ensure that you are making the payments and get your spouse to agree that you can keep the car and that you can refinance it. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


My husband of two years has asked for a separation. His mother has demanded that I give her the car back. My husband and I bought that car while we were married, but only he signed the papers and his mother co-signed them.

Do I have to return the car? It’s my only way to get to work.

Thank you very much. I appreciate your advice because I’m in trouble if I have to go out on my own with no car.