Papers Not Received, Vehicle Ownership Not Resolved

I separated from ex-husband and after one year he filed for divorce based on separation for more than one year. I could not afford an attorney but I did receive the complaint in the mail. I did the best I could do and mailed an answer to the clerk of court in the regular mail ((I have dated copy and I now know I should have sent it certified, but hindsight is 20/20). The clerk of court said they did not receive my answer and in less than three weeks I get a default judgment in the mail. I was never notified of any hearing and an absolute divorce was entered this week. In his complaint he stated that “no pending action for equitable distribution exists.” Just after receiving the complaint, I called his attorney and asked if he was going to sign over the title to the truck. Two days later 5lbs of sugar were poured in my gas tank (police report filed). In the answer I mailed (but the court claims they did not receive) I raised the issue of the truck, which remains in both of our names, asking for his signature to transfer title to me. At no time during the one year separation or in the divorce claim, did he ever ask for the truck, for half the truck, or anything. The truck has been in my sole possession since the date of separation and he never raised the issue at any time during our separation. Three questions: 1. Is the property still legally “marital property” or is it now “community property.” 2. did he give up his rights to his half of the truck by stating that no ED claim was pending and obtaining a judgment for absolute divorce? (in NC, I hear that ED claims cannot raised after absolute divorce becomes effective). 3. Do I have to file a separate civil suit or should I ask the court for an amendment or something to resolve the issue of the title to the truck? Thanks. Mary W.

The property is now owned jointly by the two of you (it is no longer martial property as you are no longer married). You are now barred from seeking ED and will have to pursue a civil claim to attempt and have the truck signed over to you.

Thank you Erin for your response. I am going to have to file as an indigent person. Thankfully the truck is paid for.

The Kelly Blue Book value of the truck is approximately $15K. Which court should I file with? Is the value of the truck an issue here or can it be handled in small claims?

I’ve been told to file with either the district or superior depending on value. How do I find out whch one?

Mary W.

We do not practice in the area of general civil litigation. I would suggest you contact a lawyer who handles these matters for a consultation.