It Occurs After the Divorce is Final. . . But it should never be an Afterthought.
At the conclusion of most divorce cases, the Court will enter a Final Judgment which distributes the partiesâ€™ assets and liabilities in an equitable, and usually an equal, manner. Although this Judgment represents the end of the judicial labor, and it is often the point at which any attorney will conclude his or her services; there is usually a lot more work for the parties themselves.
In order to apply the terms of the Divorce Judgment, bank accounts will need to be closed, titles will need to be transferred and deeds will need to be signed. Itâ€™s possible that one party will need to attempt refinancing on a marital home and itâ€™s equally possible that one or more joint assets will need to be marketed for sale. Although the Divorce Judgment, and likely each partyâ€™s divorce attorney, will provide general instructions on what to do; most clients are on their own as far as figuring out how to do it.
One such area is the transfer of the marital home.
In many divorce cases, one party will be entitled to keep the marital home and will be responsible for all, or at least a substantial portion, of the mortgage payments going forward. In order to transfer the property, the other party will need to execute a Quitclaim Deed in favor of the spouse who is retaining the property. A quitclaim deed is a limited acknowledgement that whatever interest the grantor has in the property (if any) he is transferring it to the grantee. Unlike a typical real estate deed, no warranties are made and no guarantees are provided. In order to ensure that it is effective, this quitclaim deed should contain the full legal description (not the abbreviation from the property appraiserâ€™s website) and it should expressly state that the transfer is being made pursuant to a Final Judgment of Divorceâ€”this will help avoid transfer taxes and documentary stamps.
In order to ensure that the property is marketable in the future, this quitclaim deed should be drafted by an attorney. It is not a particularly expensive procedure, particularly compared to the divorce itself, and using a qualified attorney will pay substantial dividends if and when you decide to sell the home.