Congratulations, you’ve reached a settlement! You did it! The finish line has been crossed and, much to your surprise, both you and your ex are still standing (in spite of that voo doo doll you picked up on Calle Ocho, but we’ll let that one slide). In previous posts, “Who Gets the House” and “What About the Marital Home?” we touched on what you can expect when entering into a divorce proceeding with regards to your most valuable asset/biggest liability (depending on your propensity towards the mantra ‘ignorance is bliss’ at the height of the housing bubble). Either way, that’s all behind you. You’ve got your final judgment in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other! The only problem is, your ex’s name is still on the paperwork for your new bachelor/bachelorette pad.
When property changes hands following divorce, it’s common that one party is waiting for the other to execute and deliver a quitclaim deed. Additionally, that party may also be trying to refinance in his or her individual name. Many marital settlement agreements provide for the transfer of property (ie the marital home), but there is no provision for what happens if one party fails to comply. If the agreement or judgment calling for a transfer of interest does not include a “time is of the essence” provision, the judge will be wary to tell the non-complying party to get moving (no pun intended) and will usually decline to intervene. And if you’re the party that’s supposed to act (especially if you didn’t really want to in the first place), there’s no reason not to drag your feet and buy some time. If you’re the party awaiting compliance, however, you’ve probably dug out that old voo doo doll and started a google search on Santeria.