What are my wife’s claims to our home in a divorce if she signed a quitclaim deed that was never filed?

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What are my wife’s claims to our home in a divorce if she signed a quitclaim deed that was never filed?

We bought a house in my wife’s name; I have paid all payments and expenses. She gave me a notarized quitclaim years ago but it was not filed. I am now getting a divorce. She left 4 years ago and I am raising our son alone, with no contribution from her. Will she be able to get half of the house?

Asked on January 20, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The quitclaim deed is not effective until it is recorded.  Recorded means filed with the County Recorder's Office.  The quitclaim deed releases your wife's interest in the home, but needs to be recorded.  Until it is recorded, your wife still has a claim to the home.

If you live in a community property state such as CA, community property is property acquired during marriage.  This also applies to income during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.  If the quitclaim deed is not recorded, your wife can assert a one half interest in the home as community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  This also includes income before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.

If you don't live in a community property state, other rules may be applicable.

Whether or not you live in a community property state, the quitclaim deed is not effective until it is recorded.


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