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Common Questions about Quitclaim Deeds

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    These are common questions about name change.

    Questions about Quitclaim Deeds

    Do I need a quitclaim deed for a car or mobile home?

    No. Quitclaim deeds are used to transfer real property, such as houses and land. Cars and mobile homes are not real property.

    Cars and mobile homes are properties that use titles to transfer ownership, not deeds. Neither your Judgment of Divorce nor the judge will transfer a title for you. You and your spouse must sign and file the paperwork with the Secretary of State to transfer title to a car or mobile home.

    How do I know if I need a new deed to transfer real estate?

    You need a new deed to transfer real estate after your divorce if your name and your ex-spouse’s name are both on the current deed. You also need a new deed if the current deed is not in the name of the person keeping the property.

    Does the Judgment of Divorce transfer the property?

    It is possible for a Judgment of Divorce to transfer the property. After a divorce, ex-spouses usually use a deed to transfer property so that the Judgment of Divorce is not part of the property records that anyone can search. But, if your ex-spouse does not complete his or her part of the quitclaim deed, you can transfer the property by recording your Judgment of Divorce at the Register of Deeds.

    Can the judge change my current deed?

    No. The judge will not change the names on a deed for you. You have to prepare and complete a quitclaim deed and record it with the Register of Deeds.

    Should I use a quitclaim deed or a warranty deed?

    You can use a quitclaim deed or a warranty deed to transfer your property. Unlike warranty deeds, quitclaim deeds do not make any guarantees about the property title. With a quitclaim deed, the person selling or giving up the property is not responsible for any title defects.

    It is common to use a quitclaim deed to transfer property after a divorce because people who have been married are likely to know about the property they are getting and if there is clear title. If you have concerns about title, you may want to consider using a warranty deed instead and doing a title search.

    To learn more about the difference between quitclaim deeds and warranty deeds, read the article Quitclaim Deeds and Divorce.

    What can I do if my ex-spouse won’t complete the quitclaim deed?

    If your ex-spouse does not sign the quitclaim deed or give it to you so you can record it, you have two options. You can file a motion asking the judge to enforce the Judgment of Divorce. The judge could fine or jail your ex-spouse for disobeying the Judgment. This might convince your ex-spouse to do his or her part.

    If this does not work, or if you don’t want to go back to court, you can take your Judgment of Divorce to the Register of Deeds and record it instead of the quitclaim deed. If you do this, anyone searching the title to the property will be able to see your entire Judgment of Divorce.

    Will the quitclaim deed take my name off the mortgage?

    No. A quitclaim deed will not change who is responsible for the mortgage. The person keeping the property will need to refinance the mortgage in his or her name alone. However, this may not be possible if the property is worth less than the amount of the mortgage, if the person keeping the property has bad credit, or for other reasons.

    What do I need to do with the quitclaim deed?

    If you are the person transferring your property to your ex-spouse, you must sign the quitclaim deed in front of a notary. Then, you must give the deed to your ex-spouse. Your ex-spouse must sign the deed. Then, your ex-spouse must take the deed to be recorded at the Register of Deeds.

    If you or your ex-spouse prepared a quitclaim deed using the Do-It-Yourself Quitclaim Deed (after Divorce), detailed instructions will print out with the deed.