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Court: Evidence shows car was a gift

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In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that a husband gave his wife a car as a gift, despite registering the title in both his name and his wife's name.

Whether or not a person can make an inter vivos gift of a car where his or her name remains on the title after the gift was delivered is a matter of first impression in Indiana. The issue arose in the case William A. Brackin v. Peggy J. Brackin, No. 05A02-0803-CV-218, in which William Brackin appealed the trial court awarding Peggy Brackin a car in dissolution proceedings that contained both of their names on the title.

The two had a prenuptial agreement that allowed for gifts made during the marriage to remain with the recipient. William argues the car is not a gift because his name is also on the title; Peggy argues he gave her the car.

The Court of Appeals examined the Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills & Other Donative Transfers and other state's caselaw to determine when a donor otherwise meets the requirements of an inter vivos gift of a car but keeps his or her name on the title, a presumption arises the donor didn't have donative intent to make a gift. However, the receiver of the gift can overcome this assumption with clear and convincing evidence, which Peggy provided, wrote Judge Margret Robb.

William told Peggy, "Come out and see the new car I bought you"; she primarily drove the car; and William damaged the car in an angry retaliation directed at her. The appellate court agreed with the trial court that if William believed he owned the car, it wouldn't make sense for him to damage his own property in retaliation, wrote the judge.

William failed to present any evidence negating his donative intent except for the fact his name was also on the car's title.

"Therefore, we find, as a matter of law, the evidence clearly and convincingly establishes William's donative intent and that William and Peggy intended the Lucerne as a gift to Peggy from William," Judge Robb wrote.

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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