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Does signing a Quit Claim Deed give up community property rights if a divorce should occur?


My wife and I are separated for 10 months. We are living in separate residences and married in California. I have title to my own residence after a previous divorce. My current wife and I lived in this house for 6 years. (It was bought in 1978.)

I would like to [url=]refinance[/url], but am told that my wife must sign a [url=]Quit Claim Deed[/url]. She is very concerned that by doing so, she is giving up any rights to any share of the house based on our marriage if there should be a divorce. (Right now because of the housing crash, the house is actually worth less than when we married.)

I spoke with a lawyer who said that a Quit Claim Deed does not reduce community property rights during a divorce, but on reading various forum posts, I'm very confused about this point.

My wife went to legal service and they told her not to sign the Quit Claim Deed thus making it impossible for me to get refinanced. Needless to say this is causing us both a lot of grief, since up to this point our separation has been going smoothly with the intention of coming back together in marriage.

Can you help me out with this issue?

smith.sussane's picture
smith.sussane | Joined: September 18, 2008 09:57 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi phytotech!

Welcome to forums!

As far as I know, if your wife signs a quit claim deed, she will be losing her community property rights towards the property. It would be better if you could give her a certain amount of money and buy her out and then ask her to transfer her share of the property to you. Thus, she'll be able to secure her interest in the property.

Feel free to ask if you've further queries.


Like | Dislike | Share | Posted: Wed, 08/18/2010 - 21:43

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Thanks, Sussane for a quick response!

The problem is what would that "certain amount of money" be? If we go by the change in value of the house since we married then it would be negative; if we go by 1/2 of all house payments and house modifications, which I already paid in full anyway, then it would be prohibitively expensive.

My goal is to make my wife feel like this is her house (since it is still the same house from my first marriage--yes we tried to buy a house together right at the height of the housing boom and the loan looked really scary and we backed off). Paying her off doesn't accomplish that.

I am hoping there is some other answer. The guy I approached to get the refinance suggested the possibility of adding my wife as a 1% owner on the title after the Quit Claim, thus allowing her to get involved with any potential future sale and allowing her to create terms at that time, should it come to pass.

Another option would be for my wife and I to create a contract which says that except for the possibility of foreclosure (I own about 70% of the house, so that is unlikely), that she in fact does have interest in the house based on its current value, even if she signed the Quit Claim.

Does any of these options sound reasonable or can you suggest another plan? The goal being to take advantage of the low rates; to pay my house off faster so that down the road my wife and I could buy another house together and yet calm her fears that I may be taking advantage of her. Thank you!

Like | Dislike | Share | Posted: Thu, 08/19/2010 - 00:00

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