How to Remove a Spouse From a Quit Deed When They Are Refusing to Sign

by Bailey Richert
Quitclaim deeds are a common way to transfer property between spouses.

Quitclaim deeds are a common way to transfer property between spouses.

A quitclaim deed is a legal contract which transfers a piece of property, such as a house, from one person to another. Quitclaim deeds remove a person's name from the original deed. They are often used in property transfers between family members and spouses as they are often fast, final and involve less paperwork than other deed transfers. However, the original owners of the property may still owe money on it if their names are still on the loan documents. Because these types of deeds are common among married couples, complications arise if they should have a disagreement over what to do with their property, particularly in the case of divorce. If one spouse wants to sell or give their property to someone else but the other does not, it may be necessary to remove that spouse's name from the original quitclaim deed.

Contact your lawyer first. Legal forms of any kind — even if they are intended to be simple and easy to understand like quitclaim deeds — should be reviewed by your legal counsel before you take action. Additionally, your lawyer will help you avoid any unintended legal mishaps and guide you on a straighter, faster path to removing your spouse's name.

Return to the court that originally ordered you to transfer your property. Often in a case of divorce, a person may be granted the family home in a settlement, but he or she is required to sell it as a part of the agreement. To do this, a quitclaim deed is required so that both the spouses' names can be removed from ownership of the property. This is a common case in which the ex-spouse refuses to sign the paperwork. If he or she will not cooperate, return to the judge with your situation and appeal that your ex-spouse be found in contempt of court.

File for a commissioner's deed instead of a quitclaim deed. Unless court-ordered, it is impossible to remove a person's name from a deed without their consent. In complicated cases of divorce or lack of cooperation from a spouse, it may be necessary to file for a commissioner's deed. In this case, a county commissioner has the right to assess the property, situation and legally grant you a deed stating you are the only owner of the property. You may then file another quitclaim deed to remove yourself from the deed and transfer it to another individual or financial institution.

About the Author

Bailey Richert is a 2010 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a dual bachelor's degree in environmental engineering and hydrogeology, as well as a master's degree in systems engineering. After several years in the environmental consulting industry, she is now attending MIT for graduate school. An accomplished traveler, she has visited 23 countries and published her first book about international travel in 2014.

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