Non marital property


#1

In regards to non marital property.

My wife abandoned our marital domicile last September. In doing so she took a vehicle that was purchased BEFORE our wedding. The next morning I was served an Ex-Parte that granted her the possession of my vehicle. On our “10 day” hearing I asked the judge if I could please have my license tag back and be released from the liability of the vehicle. This was definitely a shut up moment. The judge proceeded to rip into me that “under NO circumstance will I appear in his court and dictate to him my wishes and you will maintain a tag and insurance on this vehicle!”
The Ex-Parte has expired yet somehow my wife and her attorney got the judge to sign an order, with NO expiration date, granting her basically the same rights as the Ex-Parte, that still binds me to liability of the vehicle indefinitely.

Now this is where it gets weird and confusing…
My wife now lives in Orlando Florida

After calling the DMV in Raleigh, in early February, to inquire as to how my wife was able to renew the tag, my education only started.

Apparently ANYONE, according to the DMV, can renew a license tag in North Carolina as long as they have the tag renewal certificate or registration in their possession! The DMV was also mystified as to how the judge would/could grant her possession of the vehicle and tag leaving me liable.
As North Carolina residents are aware, as long as you have an active tag, you are required to have liability on that vehicle.
As I am the sole TAG owner, I am LEGALLY responsible for this vehicle.
And yes I explored the “I won’t pay the tax’s” theory to block renewal of the tag. The county doesn’t care where the money comes from as long as it gets paid, much like the DMV.

I contacted my insurance company, they are TERRIFIED that she may have an accident, in theory, if she has an accident, she walks away without any liability and under NC law they CAN NOT drop coverage, to protect myself I have installed “full coverage” insurance, and since insurance coverage is already on the vehicle she is NOT required by law to purchase insurance. Where I am DEEPLY concerned is that if she has an accident, my insurance and I am liable to cover the damages. AND I possibly can lose my home and possessions if the accident is deemed negligent on her part and a lawsuit is initiated to recover more than the insurance limits of liability…….
The judge didn’t seem to care!

Both the DMV and my insurance company informed me that in the case of an accident, ANY snag in payment or settlement to the other party can or will cause suspension of my driving privileges, this is wonderful, as I depend on my driving privileges to earn a living.

In talking with my attorney, he is also deeply mystified as to the actions of the court, and doesn’t know how to proceed. And we both agree that Equitable Distribution will be difficult with her living out of state, not to mention the cost involved to distribute a 21 month marriage of little to no marital possessions and the attempt to recover my vehicle.

So you think you have problems?
Larry Palmer
palmer_l@bellsouth.net


#2

I am assuming that your wife got a Domestic Violence Order of Protection allowing her to have possession of the vehicle. These orders can be renewed before they expire, and are renewed for a period of one year.

A agree with you that the only way to begin to move forward to fix this situation is through an equitable distribution action which includes a motion for return of separate property.