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Marital Property Division

Can One Give up Their Interest in the Family Home After Divorce?

There are many options for what to do with the family home in the event of a divorce. Some divorcing couples in Los Angeles may decide that one party will stay in the home for a certain number of years, after which they would put the home up for sale and divide the proceeds. Of course, this ties a person to their ex at a time in which a person simply wants to move on. In situations like this, the person not living in the home might just want to pay off the mortgage so that their name can be removed from it. However, will that relinquish that spouse from any responsibilities regarding the home if their ex continues to live in it?

Well, if the mortgage is paid off, then the spouse no longer living in the home will also no longer remain responsible for it as far as the mortgage goes. However, the title to the home must be transferred in full to the person's ex, that is, the spouse not living in the home will need to relinquish their ownership interest in the home to their ex.

To accomplish this, a person can order a payoff letter. This letter can be obtained from a person's lender. Then, a person can provide the lender with the exact amount needed to pay off the loan by a date stated in the payoff letter.

After that, a person can transfer their interest in the house to their ex via a quitclaim deed and can even record the quitclaim deed with the area property record office in which the house is located. By recording the deed, it basically serves as an announcement to the public that the person has no interest in or responsibilities to the home.

Of course, this post is only a general overview of this topic and there may be rare cases in which a person might retain some sort of responsibility with regard to the home for happenings that occurred at the home while the person was still an owner of it. Therefore, those in California who wish to convey ownership of the family home to their ex would be well served to first consult with a family law attorney to ensure the process is done correctly.

Source: The Washington Post, "What to do about the house when you divorce," Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin, Dec. 13, 2017