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Unless a crime has been committed or someone is in immediate danger, the police are unlikely to intervene in civil disputes. However, we’ll put you in touch with the groups and organisations who can help. Complete the sentence below to get the advice you need to resolve your dispute as quickly and amicably as possible.
I’m having a dispute with an ex-partner or spouse about who owns the car
Whether a person is the owner of a vehicle is a question for a court to decide. Facts to consider are:
A registration document (V5) is not proof of ownership. The DVLA make a point of saying that the person named on the V5 is not necessarily the owner. They are considered responsible for the vehicle by the police and DVLA, but the owner is the person who paid for the car, or to whom it was given as a gift.
Cars used by married couples are usually considered joint-owned.
It's an offence for a person to dishonestly take property belonging to someone else with the intention of permanently depriving them of it.
It's not considered dishonest if a person has a genuine belief that:
The vast majority of cases are not theft. They are civil disputes and for this reason we would initially recommend speaking to a solicitor or Citizens Advice. If they recommend reporting the matter to us, please report it to us online.
Getting a car returned to you
If you're the legal owner of the vehicle and your ex-partner or spouse has it, you can either:
This information is provided courtesy of Ask the Police.