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If all other methods of title recovery fail, you may be required to obtain a court-ordered title. If the vehicle’s title is missing, it’s too new for the Vermont title loophole, is not eligible for a bonded title, or current ownership status does not match the correct owner, obtaining a court-issued title is required for transferring the vehicle. The main purpose of the court-ordered title is to establish ownership rights in a vehicle that is missing a title, or one that doesn’t have a clear chain of ownership.
Getting a court-ordered title for a vehicle is different from getting a regular title through the DMV. The process can vary greatly from state to state and county to county. However, there are similarities across all state’s procedures. Here are the 5 general steps to obtain a court-ordered title:
To get an order for a court-ordered title, you must first file a petition with the court. In some states, this is done in probate court because cars are considered personal property under the jurisdiction of probate law. In other places, you may need to file in small claims court or district court.
The petition should be as thorough as possible, including all available information from your research on who owned the car before you. There is not a standard type of petition or template to follow when filing. Before filing your petition, get legal advice on the proper formatting and contents.
Since the original certificate of title is not available, you’ll need to contact the current registered owner and lienholder of the petition for vehicle title. Driver records are private information that is protected by the DMV under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. To obtain this information from the DMV, you’ll need to submit your state’s DPPA request form and state your reasoning for the request. If approved, the DMV will provide you with the registered owner and lienholder information.
Each state will have different timeline requirements for notifying the registered owner and lienholder of the petition for the court-ordered title. Using certified USPS mail, send the registered owner and lienholder an official notice. The registered owner and lienholder will be provided a period of time to come forward to claim the vehicle, typically 30-60 days. After this time period with no response, you may proceed with the next steps of the process.
Once you’ve filed your petition, contacted the registered owner and lienholder, and completed any additional tasks required by the court, schedule a hearing with the judge to review your case. At this hearing the judge will determine the validity of the case and if it warrants a court-ordered title.
If you are granted ownership via a court-ordered title, the final step is to take the court order to the DMV to apply for a new certificate of title. The court order provided by the judge will require the DMV to issue you a new title with your name.
A court-ordered title is a time-consuming method of title recovery, but it is a valid option if all other methods fail. If it’s your car, you deserve a title in your name. CarTitles.com takes the hassle out of applying for a title for your vehicle. Our team of title experts can help prepare your paperwork for any title method provided.
Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. If it’s your car, you deserve a title.
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