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Divorce, Dower and Everything in Between

Divorce can be complicated, emotions can run high, and when dealing with real estate it can be very confusing. It is common for attorneys to negotiate who will be keeping your home, if anyone. If this is the case, a title company is often involved. Here is a list of frequent questions and scenarios that come up in the divorce process and answers to help navigate divorce and the real estate property owned.

Frequently Asked Questions With regards to Divorces and Real Estate Property

If I remove my spouse from ownership through a Quit Claim Deed will that extinguish our dower rights if I chose to refinance, sell or buy (with financing)?

No, even if a quit claim deed was done removing one spouse, if they are still married, dower still applies. If you sell, refinance, or buy a home using financing, your spouse will need to sign papers at the closing.

Our Divorce is not amicable. Can we arrange for separate closings?

Yes! Please just let the title company know this ahead of time so we can plan accordingly. If there are any protection orders where they are not allowed to contact one another, it is helpful for us to know. Things like this do not pop up on title exams.

My divorce is pending. What happens at my closing?

A divorce is not complete until the Divorce Decree is final. If a divorce is pending, dower rights are still in effect with regards to your property. Which means if you are the sole owner, your soon to be ex is the sole owner, or you own the property together, both parties will need to sign if you refinance or sell the property. Similarly, if you purchase a property and fin

ance it, both parties will be required to sign documents while you are married and divorce is pending.

If both parties are in title and a separation agreement is not yet in place, when the property is sold the title company would divide proceeds 50/50. If this should not happen or parties are not in agreement, they will need to wait until the divorce is final or judgment

ruled in pending case on what exactly would need to be done with proceeds (namely put into attorney account).

My ex is supposed to receive funds back from me when I refinance. How does this happen?

Let the title company handling the refinance know this ahead of time. Whether or not the funds will be split, go to one party, or to the attorneys/one attorney. This should be in the divorce decree, but it’s nice to have an idea beforehand. If party does not qualify for a refinance, the separation agreement should state what happens to marital prop

erty or subject property.

My divorce is now final. Do you need anything?

Yes! We need divorce decree, separation agreement, etc ASAP! Once the divorce is final, dower rights and survivorship rights are extinguished. It is very important that the divorce decree or separation agreement is followed with regards to real estate owned and money owed to you or your ex. If the decree is not filed with regards to property or time frame, it may be good to involve your divorce attorney so that the change is documented in the court docket and there is agreement between all parties. It is extremely important to use timelines in your divorce decree with regards to real estate property along with alternative plans and timelines just in case.

For Example: Mr and Mrs. Jones are getting divorced. Mr Jones is to refinance the home.

Divorce Decree: Mr Jones should be completed with a refinance removing Mrs. Jones from title by June 30, 2024. Mrs. Jones shall be disbursed funds from the title company in the amount of $50,000 at this time. If Mr. Jones does not refinance the property by June 30, 2024 then he must either sell the property by August 30th, 2024 and have title company disburse $50,000 to Mrs. Jones or he must give $50,000 to his attorney, Joe White so that he can disburse to Mrs. Jones’ attorney Kim Holden by August 30th, 2024.

Every situation is different, so feel free to reach out if you need advice or have questions!

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