title issue

8 Replies

I have a seller call me that have a house where one spouse was award the house in a divorce degree a number of years ago and and never went to the trouble of getting the former spouse off the deed now they want to sell. The former spouse wants part of the sells proceeds to sign off. 

The property is in the Dallas Texas area. 

Any new advise about and beyond saying go talk to an attorney would be great.    

This is typical for divorce decrees. And you can't remove someone from a deed.  If they're both on title, there is no issue. The contract can stipulate the title company split the proceeds as agreed to by the parties, unless a court order dictates otherwise.

Guy Gimenez, Buying Texas Today | [email protected] | (512) 270‑7279 | http://www.BuyingTexasToday.com

Another idea (it varies by state) is to check the divorce decree to see if it has "conveyance language". What this means is in rare instances the divorce decree will indicate something along the lines of "If no deed is filed this decree may act as a conveyance." If this is the case you can take a copy of the divorce decree to the courthouse and file it with the land records to act as the "deed" putting title solely in the seller's name. When I worked in the title insurance business several years ago, we would insure properties with this type of conveyance.

What does the divorce decree say? Have you looked at it? A court order transferring property isn't a title flaw where I am. It's as good as a deed and title usually treats it as such.  Does the order actually award the house to the seller?  Or does it have provisions for an installment sale or buy out? If it orders that the house become the sole property of the seller, I would have the seller record a certified copy of the judgment, or have them provide a copy to escrow for recording (or I'd do it myself). That being said, I don't know how it works in TX. 

The title company may still require that ex spouse sign an affidavit or quit claim, which isn't always easy when ex's aren't speaking or they think there is money to made. Is there a mortgage?  Who is the borrower?

Originally posted by @Jim Viens :

Another idea (it varies by state) is to check the divorce decree to see if it has "conveyance language". What this means is in rare instances the divorce decree will indicate something along the lines of "If no deed is filed this decree may act as a conveyance." If this is the case you can take a copy of the divorce decree to the courthouse and file it with the land records to act as the "deed" putting title solely in the seller's name. When I worked in the title insurance business several years ago, we would insure properties with this type of conveyance.

Don't all court orders with a final order to transfer the property serve the same purpose as a deed?  That's how court orders work here. There is often no deed and I've never seen the "if no deed language" you mentioned.  The order does the job.  There is the problem of vesting though.  Here in CA probate court orders rarely include vesting, so if there are multiple parties they end up being tenants in common....by default.  Only parties and their attorneys paying attention to vesting (many aren't) make sure to re-transfer the property with the correct vesting.

In Virginia I would talk to my title company. I would also ask divorce lawyers in Texas what the decree means too.

Kristine Marie Poe I believe it's more of a cautionary thing looking for the specific conveyance language. The agency I worked for wrote title insurance under two major national underwriters and I think it was a requirement passed down from them just to have a more solid defense if the title were to ever be questioned in court. I'm guessing they had been bitten by that previously in KS and/or MO.

@Joel S.  Just read the Order. Let's stop speculating as to it's contents.

I once had title officer only ready page one of a two page order. I had a deed from Mr. but Mrs was deceased. What was significant is that the order granting the divorce was on page #1. 

T.O. required me to record an affidavit death of joint tenant along with death certificate for Mrs. Had he read page #2 he would have noticed that the order terminated the joint tenancy. His omission saved me from probating her estate as to the 1/2 undivided interest.

Learn to read documents. 'Nuff said about that.

This post has been removed.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you