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Court Ordered Title - Definitions
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Court Ordered Boat Title Guidelines


How to obtain a court ordered boat title with step by step instructions.

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Aug 22, 2023 - A court ordered affirmation of boat ownership is the only remaining option when a registration agency refuses to issue a title on the grounds of non-compliance with established rules and regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard and most state jurisdictions will usually accept such ruling at face value. The following steps are typical of what most courts will require in order to file a petition.

Step 1 - Gather the evidence.

You must have a reasonable and provable basis for claiming ownership of the subject boat. This may consist of any agreements, contracts, bills of sale, instruments of transfer, payment receipts and/or other items in support of your claim. These must specifically identify the boat by it's hull identification number and state registration number or official USCG documentation number as applicable. If the petition involves an abandonment, mechanic's lien or some other operation of law; a copy of the relevant statutes must be presented along with sufficient evidence of full compliance.

Step 2 - Owner notifications.

In almost all cases, you must have attempted to notify the existing owner of record and any secured parties regarding your claim. The most common method for doing so is by registered mail with a return receipt requested. It should be sent to any addresses of record and/or others as known. The subject parties must then be given a reasonable amount of time to respond which is typically 30 to 60 days.

Step 3 - Prepare an affidavit of facts.

Your evidence should be supported by an affidavit of facts that lays out all of the circumstances, evidence and conditions surrounding your claim. Depending on the respective court's protocols, this can be in any format and must be notarized as sworn testimony.

Step 4 - Confirm the Procecures

Begin the process by checking with the respective boat registration agency (see WikiTags) to see if they have any information about obtaining court ordered titles. This is fairly common among vehicles and boats typically utilize the same procedures. If unavailable, you can contact a local county or court clerk's office for further instructions and directions.


Jurisdictional issues may arise on boats that are currently documented with the Coast Guard. Although "in rem" actions in federal court may vacate any liens or encumbrances, this is not typically the case in local court jurisdictions. Given that complex issues can arise with any type of court action, the assistance of a qualified attorney is highly recommended.

Use of these guidelines may have legal, financial, and tax implications.
You should consult with an attorney or professional about any such concerns.

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Aug 22, 2023 - Page revised.



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