Quit Claim Deeds after Divorce or Dissolution

Quit claim deeds convey the current owner’s rights in real property, if any, to new owners. The transfer may or may not include consideration (something of value, usually money). They are generally used to clear clouded titles, to settle boundary disputes between neighbors, or to make gifts of real property, and include no warranties of title for the new owners.

One specific application of quit claim deeds is to convey title following a divorce or dissolution. In those cases, the division of property is often determined by a judge, who directs one party to transfer his/her rights in marital real estate to the other. Quit claim deeds executed for this purpose tend to require some additional information. For example, many localities require a comment referring to the divorce, as well as other items such as the docket or civil action number and recording details of the judicial decree.

Generally, the person keeping the house becomes responsible for paying the mortgage, taxes, and other associated bills. If both spouses were originally named on the deed and the mortgage, however, both are still responsible for making sure the mortgage bills are paid.

Regardless of the purpose, all quitclaim deeds must meet statutory and other local requirements for content and format. They must also be submitted for public record to the authority responsible for maintaining land records, in the county where the land is located. Contact the recording office or a local attorney for further information or with specific questions about appropriate use of quitclaim deeds.

Important things to remember:

  • Depending on the circumstances, some transactions involving quit claim deeds may be exempt from transfer taxes. Ask the local recorder or assessor, or an attorney, questions about exemptions and the proper way to claim them.
  • Executing a quitclaim deed transfers ownership rights in the real estate, but DOES NOT necessarily end the financial obligation associated with a mortgage or other co-owned debts against the property.

See Also: Giving Up Ownership of Real Estate When You’re Still on the Mortgage