City and Borough of Juneau
155 S. Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
tel. 907-586-5240
fax 907-586-5385

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Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"

Q. If my husband and I bought both our cars with cash and put title in his moms name bc my husband was scared his debt collectos would come after them. Does his mom have the right to just come and take both our cars? Neither one of them have been cars his mom has driven on a ragular basis, she has her own nice taho. Thank you

Dear Juneau Resident,

This is one of these tricky civil law and criminal law areas. If someone is the registered owner of a vehicle, that is an indicator of ownership but there can be other indicators that override that factor. If you can't find a way to come to an agreement, you will probably need to get in front of a judge to sort it out. I'll get to why laying things out for a judge might be awkward.

On the criminal side, if your mother-in-law has possession of the vehicles registered to her and you report you want them back because you paid for them, use them, etc... JPD is not going to help you physically recover the vehicles. If you have possession and your mother-in-law tries to take the vehicles, JPD isn't going to assist her in that since this is a civil/property issue.

Now, on to the bigger problem. We don't enforce civil law here at JPD but it would seem to make sense that if you have a legally valid debt and you hide assests by paying cash and putting them in someone else's name, you might be on the wrong side of the law in a civil situation. You probably need some good legal advice. If you can't afford a lawyer you might try Alaska Legal Services to see if they can help you. Once you get things straightened out you can put your cars in your name which just works out much better for you in the long run.


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