Divorce and Deeds (Property Transfer)

How do I transfer the title or deed of a house

Filing a Deed to Change a Title After Divorce

As the saying goes, a man’s home is his castle. A house is the most valuable piece of property the majority of people will ever own. Like a vehicle, a house also has a title. This title is called a deed. A deed is a written document that transfers property from one person to another. It proves that you own the property and have legal interest in it.
You may not think much now about the topic of ownership and deeds, but if you are considering divorce, you should know that this topic will soon get complicated. If you want to leave your marriage, you can not simply walk away from the family home and move on without dealing with the ownership of the home. In many divorce cases, the courts make the decision to allow one of the spouses to stay in the home as part of the settlement. However, this process is not as easy as simply continuing to make the mortgage payments. This process can get quite complicated, depending on the current title and type of ownership of the home and the court order.
In many Arizona divorce cases, it is necessary to change the title of the family home. If both parties are currently listed as owners, and one spouse is receiving the home, then the person signing over his or her share in the home (the grantor) must file the appropriate deed so that the grantee (the person receiving the interest) becomes the sole owner of the home.
This process can get complicated quickly, which is why you should never attempt to handle this type of thing on your own. If a deed is not executed properly, it could affect one’s ownership down the road, causing even more issues. Arizona Statewide Paralegal serves all counties in Arizona and can help in this regard, giving you peace of mind and allowing you to quickly move on from a divorce.



Types of Property Titles in Arizona

You may not know that you do not just simply own a house. Believe it or not, if you are married, there are five possible ways in which you can hold title to property in Arizona:
● Community Property. This is the most common title among married couples. Under this title, each spouse owns half of the property. This interest in the property cannot be sold. When one spouse dies, his or her portion of the estate needs to be cleared through probate, adjudication or affidavit.

● Community Property with the Right of Survivorship. Similar to the community property title, this title involves a married couple, with each party owning half of the property. However, the interest in the party can be sold and when one spouse dies, the title is cleared without court action.

● Tenancy in Common. Under this title, there can be more than two parties involved, and none need to be married to each other. Each party holds an interest in the property, but the shares do not need to be equal. A party can sell the share to others. When one party dies, the interest must be cleared through probate, adjudication, or affidavit.

● Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship. Similar to tenancy in common, there can be multiple parties involved, none who need to be married to each other. However, each person has equal shares that can be sold to others. Additionally, when one person dies, the title clears without court action.

● Sole and Separate. It is possible for a married person to title property as sole and separate. However, Arizona is a community property state.  A Disclaimer Deed can be prepared and signed by your spouse as evidence that it should be considered sole and separate property. Click here to get started online

Types of Deeds

If you are looking to transfer over your property to another party as part of a divorce settlement, you have a couple ways to go about it. There are two main types of deeds: warranty and quitclaim deeds.
A warranty deed transfers property from yourself to another party. At the same time, by signing this deed, you guarantee that the title on the property is free and clear. This means that there are no liens against the property. This type of deed is often used in real estate transactions when someone is selling a home and is transferring the interest in the property to the buyer. This type of sale often occurs between two parties who are unrelated.

A quitclaim deed is similar in that it also transfers property to someone else. However, in signing the deed, you are making no promises. There could be others who have legal interest in the property. There could be liens against the property. All you are doing is transferring your interest in the property to someone else. This type of deed is often used in divorce cases. For instance, one party is granted ownership of the family home, so the other party is releasing his or her interest and taking his or her name off the title of the home.

What Happens Next?                 

Once you understand the differences between the titles and deeds, you will then decide on the type of deed you will choose to transfer the property. If you enlist the services of Arizona Statewide Paralegal, we will need some basic information from you in order to get the ball rolling. We will need your contact information and a copy of the most recent deed, if you have it available. The deed helps us, as it provides the proper legal description. We need this information to move forward with your deed. If you can not find your deed, we can help locate the deed for you in many cases.
For quitclaim and warranty deeds, Arizona law requires both the names of the grantor and grantee. You would list your name as the grantor. The grantee is the person or legal entity who will be receiving the property. It is possible to have multiple names or entities as the grantees. The deed also requires that you include the legal description of your property.The full legal description is required, so do not used the shortened version found on your property tax statement. If you do, the assessor could possibly reject the deed. If you have questions about this, be sure to ask us for help. The next step involves choosing how the grantee will hold title to the property. In most cases, you will be transferring the property to your former spouse only, so you will most likely choose the sole and separate property option. However, if the property is going to the ex-spouse and perhaps additional members of his or her family, then there are three other options to consider:  tenants in common, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, and community property with right of survivorship. These options may also be used for estate planning purposes, so if there are adult children involved in the marriage, then it is possible that your former spouse could be adding them to the title

Use of Exemption Codes

When you are transferring property in a divorce, you are simply handing over your rights. There is no actual buying or selling involved, so no money is exchanging hands. Whether you use the warranty deed or quitclaim deed, Arizona law requires that you use the appropriate exemption showing the reason why no money was exchanged during the transfer. This will allow you to legally file the deed.

Under Arizona Revised Statutes §11-1134, an Affidavit of Property Value is required for all title transfers and recorded contract of sales unless certain conditions are met. If a condition is met, you must use the appropriate exemption code on the deed. The most common exemption code related to a divorce is A5, which refers to a conveyance recorded to satisfy a court order. This means that the transfer of property from one party to another was ordered by the court.
However, exemption code A7 could also apply. This refers to the transfer of real property as a gift. If the grantee is a trust, then B8 could also be used. This refers to the transfer of property from a person to a trustee. There are 21 exemption codes in total, and they are divided into two sections. Choosing the right one is not a simple process. You can view the complete list here.
This may add even more confusion to the deed process, but the good news is that Arizona Statewide Paralegal will take care of this process for you at no additional charge. Our team of certified legal document preparers has experience using exemption codes, so we always make sure to use the correct one based on the type of property transfer.
There are situations in which no exemption codes apply. That is perfectly fine. However, your deed will need an Affidavit of Property Value, which the team at Arizona Statewide Paralegal will prepare and record for you —again, for no additional charge!
Submitting the Required Information
While the team at Arizona Statewide Paralegal is always available for in-person appointments and consultations, we can take of filing your deed without the need for you to come into the office. For your convenience, we have the ability to submit all the required information online. Our secure online system allows you to work with you from the convenience of your own home as we prepare your deed. Once the deed is ready to file, we will prepare it for your signature. This is the part of the process that cannot be done online. Grantor are legally required to sign the documents in the presence of a notary. However, for your convenience, we do offer notaries in Phoenix, Tucson, and Mesa. Once all the paperwork has been signed, our legal document preparers will then file the deed.  We will file it with the proper county recorder’s office, ensuring that the correct process is followed.

What to Consider

During this process, it is also important to be aware of issues involving the home. For example, when a home is transferred to another party in the divorce process, it is common to still have a lender involved due to the mortgage. While a deed will remove you from the home’s title, it will not remove you from the mortgage. Therefore, you are still on the hook for any future house payments if you are still on the mortgage.To handle this situation, the home is usually sold. Another option is that the grantee can refinance the house in his or her name only. He or she would have to have a high enough income to qualify for a loan. However, if this is successful, this removes you from any obligation from the lender. The grantee and anyone else listed on the refinance are the only people responsible for the monthly mortgage payments.This is not an issue if the mortgage is paid off and you hold the title free and clear. However, this is the exception rather than the norm.

Why Use Our Services

The team at Arizona Statewide Paralegal serves all counties in Arizona and is certified by the Arizona Supreme Court. We are paralegals who are trained at filing the appropriate paperwork and following the correct procedures. We have been helping customers like you with legal documents since 1992.
If you are looking to transfer property after a divorce in Arizona, you will likely find the process confusing. There are many types of property titles involved, and each has its own process. We offer many services to help you manage and file this paperwork without extravagant fees. In fact, we charge just $250 for document preparation and recording.
Do note, however, that we cannot give legal advice. If you have a complicated case and require legal services, then you will need to contact a lawyer. However, if you simply need help filing the right deed and getting answers to general questions about the process, we can help. We offer convenience at a low price. Contact us to learn more about the document preparation services we offer for property transfers.


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