The court-ordered title process is frequently overlooked as a vehicle title recovery method, but it may be a good option if you lack key ownership documents. If you are ineligible for standard title recovery methods due to missing documentation, damaged or mutilated title documents, or other factors, you may apply for a court-ordered title.
There are more than 3,600 counties in the United States, and each has its own court-ordered title procedure. Court-ordered titles are always decided at the county level, even though many other procedures are determined at the state level. The county where the vehicle is located is frequently the county where the court-ordered title procedure occurs. Despite their geographical distance, most court-ordered title processes have comparable demands. What is a typical court-ordered title procedure like?
How to apply for a court-ordered title
Even if you are certain that you do not have all of the required documents to obtain a vehicle title at the DMV, you must still attempt to do so before applying for a court-ordered title. If you are denied a vehicle title due to insufficient proof of ownership, you may request a court-ordered title.
Example from Fairfield County, Ohio:
Step 1: Search for a lienholder using the official DMV title records
Step 2: Search for the prior owner using the official DMV title records
Step 3: Send letters via certified mail to the lienholder(s) and the prior owner(s), informing them of your intent to apply for a court-ordered title. Allow for 15 days for the lienholder(s) or prior owner(s) to respond before proceeding.
Step 4: Pay inspection fees and obtain a receipt
Step 5: Schedule and complete the inspection
Step 6: File your petition with the County Court of Common Pleas
Step 7: Appear before a judge and make your case for vehicle ownership
Step 8: If approved, file your judgment with the Clerk of Courts and receive the court order
Step 9: Take the court order to the DMV to obtain a vehicle title
The court-ordered title process is not simple, but it is an available process if all other methods of title recovery are unavailable for your situation. Before proceeding with a court-ordered title, consider if another title recovery method is available such as bonded title, Vermont title loophole, lien release, prior owner search, or deceased owner transfer. If the best option for title recovery is a court-ordered title, make sure to check the requirements of your county before proceeding. If it’s your vehicle, you deserve your name on the title.
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