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How to transfer home ownership after a divorce

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Here’s what to know when transferring financial responsibility for your property.

Of all the assets owned by a married couple, property can become the most contentious to divide during a divorce. If you or your spouse are interested in assuming ownership of your family home, you can do so with a quitclaim deed.

What is a quitclaim deed?

A quitclaim deed is the legal means used to transfer a person’s interest in real estate. It’s name comes from the idea that a person is “quitting” their claim on a piece of property.

With a quitclaim deed, the spouse who intends to keep the home is given “valuable consideration” for the home, which can be money or something else of value. Ownership can also be transferred for “good consideration” — or payment that has no value, like gratitude.

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    What kind of paperwork will I need?

    To transfer ownership of your property, first visit your county recorder’s office to request:

    • A quitclaim deed form. You’ll enter the date, the value of your home for consideration and a legal description and location of your property.
    • A Preliminary Change of Ownership form. The spouse who is intending to keep the home completes this form.

    How can I ensure that my forms are completed accurately?

    To avoid rejection of your forms for incomplete or inaccurate information, you’ll need to:

    • List the full name of the spouses involved in the transfer of property ownership.
    • Identify the proposed property’s location, value for consideration and “legal description” — or property dimensions and boundaries.
    • Sign the forms in front of a notary public, who will also sign them as a witness.
    • Submit your completed forms to be recorded in the property’s county.

    If you have specific questions about the forms or your property when completing them, seek the assistance of your family law attorney.

    Does a quitclaim deed affect my mortgage liability?

    Your mortgage liability is not transferred through a quitclaim deed. Whichever spouse gives up their interest in the home could still find themselves responsible for half of that property’s mortgage debt and any lien on the property.
    What to do with your mortgage debt after a divorce

    Will I need to pay a transfer tax?

    When you transfer the title of your property with a quitclaim deed, the county in which the home is located may impose a transfer tax on both your and your spouse. The tax you’re charged will depend on your county, but it tends to be 1% of the home’s purchase price. Keep in mind that the county could reassess the value of your property at the time of transfer, resulting in higher property taxes for the spouse taking over ownership.

    Seek the assistance of a professional

    As with all real estate decisions, talk to your family law attorney, a tax professional or another expert to determine your specific responsibilities when transferring ownership of your property during or after your divorce.

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      16 Responses

      1. Default Gravatar
        PeterMay 13, 2019

        My son is divorced from his wife and in the divorce agreement she received a lump sum payment and signed off to be removed from deed to the house in Florida. A new deed was filed and the wife was removed and my son is on the deed alone. *Question* Does anything have to be done regarding title insurance which still has her name on it? Or just having a copy of divorce and agreement and new title with just his name on it sufficient. Thanks Peter

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          nikkiangcoMay 14, 2019Staff

          Hi Peter,

          Thanks for getting in touch with Finder! Once a divorce has been filed, all assets and documentation that was on partnership prior must be addressed accordingly. Given this, since as of current, the title deed doesn’t bear the ex-wife’s name, both parties should settle on who stays on the insurance for the property. It would be best to seek legal advise and review the insurance policy in moving forward.

          Hope this helps!

          With care,
          Nikki

      2. Default Gravatar
        jennemycroMarch 31, 2019

        My SOs friend wants to give us his paid for trailer home, free of charge. Would a Quitclaim Deed be appropriate to use?

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          johnbasanesApril 1, 2019Staff

          Hi Jennemycro,

          Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

          If you are buying a trailer and land, you’ll get a deed for the land, but not necessarily for the trailer. A trailer is only considered real property if it is permanently attached to land. If you are buying a trailer to pull behind your truck for touring the country, it comes with a title, not a deed.

          But if you buy a mobile home attached to real property, you’ll get a deed for both. Like a cabin or a villa, a mobile home sitting on a foundation or otherwise attached permanently is real property, and ownership passes with a deed. However, the type of real property you buy does not determine the type of deed you get. A quitclaim would only work if the trailer is attached to the land. Hope this helps!

          Cheers,
          Reggie

      3. Default Gravatar
        MichelleFebruary 23, 2019

        My husband and I file for divorce and it is now final. We own a home together, but we really want to do is to be able to take my name off the deed and the mortgage, without having to sell or refinance at this time. We are residents here in St George, Utah, and my question is there a way of going about this without having to sell the house? I’d appreciate if someone could tell me the right direction on doing so. Thank you, Michelle.

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          JoshuaFebruary 24, 2019Staff

          Hi Michelle,

          Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I’m sorry to hear about your divorce. I hope all goes well for you.

          Regarding your question, you would need to directly get in touch with your lender. In most cases, to remove your name from a mortgage loan, refinancing or selling is needed. However, sometimes, your lender could offer you an alternative solution especially that the reason you want to remove your name is due to a divorce.

          By speaking with your lender, you would know more about your situation and other possible courses of action.

          I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

          Have a wonderful day!

          Cheers,
          Joshua

      4. Default Gravatar
        JamesFebruary 6, 2019

        My ex still has her name on the deed. If a quitclaim is filed, can she then claim to be not financially responsible?

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          JoshuaFebruary 16, 2019Staff

          Hi James,

          Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

          If a quitclaim deed is successfully filed, your ex would be removed from the title. However, if your ex is on the mortgage, a quitclaim does not remove her from any financial obligations for the property. Thus, your ex would still need to may repayments for the mortgage if this is the case.

          I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

          Have a wonderful day!

          Cheers,
          Joshua

      5. Default Gravatar
        JohnJanuary 13, 2019

        My ex claims there was no quit claim deed during divorce She said that I just agreed to keeping my name on mortgage while she took ownership of house. Is this possible. I’m sure I signed it but she is devious so she may have taken it

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          johnbasanesJanuary 16, 2019Staff

          Hi John,

          Thank you for reaching out to finder.

          Normally, these agreements are part of the divorce settlement documents that you should have a copy on when the divorce transpired. A judge can award the marital home to one spouse as part of property distribution in your divorce. This assumes that the house qualifies as “marital” or “community” property and not one spouse’s separate property. A court will look at several factors to decide who gets the house. You may need to revisit these documents to know where you are in this situation. Hope this helps!

          Cheers,
          Reggie

      6. Default Gravatar
        RoyJune 18, 2018

        HI, so right now I have a home with my wife my family lives with us. She’s threatening to leave me and sell the house which our family invited her into. To be on the safe side can I transfer the house to my brothers name to keep our family covered?

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          JoshuaJune 19, 2018Staff

          Hi Roy,

          Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

          If both of your names are on the deed, generally, your wife can’t force you to sell the house unless she files a lawsuit or partition action.

          Moreover, if you want to add your brother’s name, you need to ask for your wife’s consent.

          Finally, please seek professional advice since there are other factors that should be considered. By doing so, you will have a better idea of how you should go through your situation.

          I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

          Have a wonderful day!

          Cheers,
          Joshua

      7. Default Gravatar
        MarcMay 7, 2018

        It’s been two years now my x has not given the paper work that I signed to give her the house. My name is still on the deed and mortgage is still in my name. She doesn’t work. I’m thinking that’s why she didn’t hand in the papers. But I want my name off. What can I do.

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          nikkiangcoMay 8, 2018Staff

          Hi Marc,

          Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

          It seems like the property is still under your name. If you or your spouse are interested in assuming ownership of your family home, you can do so with a quitclaim deed.

          A quitclaim deed is the legal means used to transfer a person’s interest in real estate. It’s name comes from the idea that a person is “quitting” their claim on a piece of property. With a quitclaim deed, the spouse who intends to keep the home is given “valuable consideration” for the home, which can be money or something else of value. Ownership can also be transferred for “good consideration” — or payment that has no value, like gratitude.

          To transfer ownership of your property, first visit your county recorder’s office to request:

          A quitclaim deed form. You’ll enter the date, the value of your home for consideration and a legal description and location of your property.
          A Preliminary Change of Ownership form. The spouse who is intending to keep the home completes this form.

          Essentially, as with all real estate decisions, talk to your family law attorney, a tax professional or another expert to determine your specific responsibilities when transferring ownership of your property during or after your divorce.

          Hope this helps! Feel free to message us anytime should you have further questions.

          Cheers,
          Nikki

      8. Default Gravatar
        AnneNovember 11, 2017

        I wish to take my name of the title deed of the house as my husband and I have been separated for 18 months. I am giving him the house. I just want my name of the deed. However the house is currently in collections and has 4 more payments to go before it is removed. Can I get my name of the title, I don’t want a payout I just want out.

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          RenchNovember 11, 2017Staff

          Hi Anne,

          Thanks for reaching out to us. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

          Please seek legal assistance with all real estate decisions, talk to your family law attorney, a tax professional or another expert to determine your specific responsibilities when transferring ownership of your property during or after your divorce.

          You may click on the ‘Go to Site’ button on this page for LegalMatch Real Estate for assistance.

          Best regards,
          Rench

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