How to Get a Court Order for a Vehicle Title

  • 3 min read

Are you looking to get a court order for a vehicle title? A court order for a vehicle title means that the court in the county where you reside issues an order that declares you the rightful owner of a particular vehicle. This typically occurs when there’s a significant lack of ownership documentation, such as the prior title or bill of sale. With each county having a unique process, the processes can get confusing. However, most counties in the US will follow these general steps to issue a court order for a vehicle title:

Step 1: Determine if this method is best for you

Before diving into the court order title process, determine whether this method is the most suitable option for your situation. If you have a prior title or other title recovery options, like a bonded title, it’s advisable to explore those options first. The court-ordered title process is typically reserved for individuals who have exhausted all other options and cannot obtain a title for their vehicle through traditional methods.

Step 2: Obtain the DMV records from the last titled state

To initiate the court order filing, you must gather official title records from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), where the vehicle was last titled. Each state has a method available to obtain protected DMV information. You must make all reasonable efforts to contact all security interests in the vehicle.

Step 3: Notify all registered owners and lienholders

With the information obtained from the DMV, you’ll need to notify all registered owners and lienholders about your intentions to apply for a title in your name. This notification is a formal alert to these parties and ensures transparency.

Step 4: Visit the court (or mail-in)

Next, it’s time to take your case to the county court where you reside. Prepare all the required documentation and submit them to the court clerk. The court will review your affidavit and any additional evidence you provide to support your claim to the vehicle. Be sure to include all relevant information to strengthen your case. 

For those who prefer a mail-in option, check with your county court to see if they offer this service. Mailing in your documents can be a convenient option for those with busy schedules or limited access to the court.

Step 5: Get a hearing & summary judgment

Once your documents are submitted, the court will set a date for a hearing. During the hearing, you’ll present your case before a judge. Being well-prepared for this stage is crucial, as the judge will assess the evidence and arguments presented to make an informed decision.

If your case is deemed valid and the judge finds sufficient evidence supporting your claim, they will issue a summary judgment. This judgment declares you as the vehicle’s rightful owner and grants you the court order for the title. If your case is dismissed, the court will notify you if you can refile.

Keep in mind that while these steps provide a general outline of the process, each county may have its own specific requirements and procedures. Therefore, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your county’s specific guidelines for obtaining a court order for a vehicle title.

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