Understanding Quitclaim Deeds: How To Protect Yourself

Entering into any sort of legal contract can be a harrowing experience, even if it’s something as common as a mortgage. Buying a home is a big decision that comes with a lot of planning and a fair bit of stress; after all, the idea is to live there for a long time, which means you’ll be paying it off for years. When you’re married or in a partnership with someone, that stress is a shared experience, but what happens when the partnership breaks up? 

During a divorce, many people find themselves in the midst of several uncomfortable decisions, and one of the biggest is whether one person will take the house or if it will be sold. Sometimes, no matter how amicable the split is, there is discord when it comes to dividing up the assets, and a home with a mortgage and a deed containing the names of both parties is a major asset. It’s important to understand how it all works and how you can protect yourself in the event that the other party ends up taking the home. 

Property dealings can be rough, so take the time to do some research before entering into any big decisions. Consult a law firm like Gulotta & Gulotta who can help you fully understand the repercussions so you don’t end up with any nasty surprises down the road; here are some tips to help you get started.

Understanding quitclaim deeds

quitclaim deed is a legal document that is separate from the mortgage. It simply releases one person’s interest in the home and removes their name from the deed. For example, if you file a quitclaim deed to remove your former spouse’s name from ownership of the property, it will also remove any interest they have in the property and will ensure that they can’t claim an interest in it down the road. 

However, if there’s a chance that you’ll want to transfer the property to someone else at a later date–or if there have ever been any legal issues involving the home–you may need a special warranty deed. 

It’s important to keep in mind that a quitclaim deed has nothing to do with the mortgage. Releasing a name from the deed does not release that person from their responsibilities when it comes to making payments on the house, so if your former partner’s name is taken off the deed and they stop making those payments, you could be held liable for the mortgage on your own. If the situation is reversed and your name is removed, keep in mind that you will still be responsible for making sure the lender gets their money. 

Where to find help

When going through a breakup or divorce, it’s important to have helpful resources for moving and support from friends and family throughout the entire process. The dissolution of a relationship comes with a lot of difficult feelings and you may find yourself making hard decisions that you never thought you’d have to make. Ask for assistance when you need it and take steps to ensure that your mental health is taken care of during this time. 

Having the right movers to help you get your belongings out safely and without incident can make a huge difference, especially if there’s tension between you and your former partner. They can provide a buffer to help ease the discomfort on moving day and can take care of things so you don’t have to see your belongings being taken out of the home you shared, which can be difficult. However, it can be tricky to find the right company within your price range and with availability when you need it, so do your research ahead of time. 

Remember that, although a quitclaim deed can be drawn up on your computer, any real estate transaction should be overseen by a lawyer during this time to ensure that you don’t sign any rights away. Take steps to cover yourself, which will give you peace of mind during a difficult time.

Gulotta & Gulotta, PLLC is a general practice, handling a variety of cases in personal injury cases, real estate, divorce, family law, and other civil matters. Contact us today! 631.285.7000

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