I bought a house in CA before marriage, Title in my name only. Wife was never on the Title.
We both lived in it for about 10 years, then we went separate ways for another roughly 20 yrs.
During all this time, I made all the house mortgage payments & paid all taxes and expenses. She never paid anything for the house.
Now, going thru uncontested divorce, wife agrees to receive a sum of money from me to buy out her community property rights and interest in this house. I'm asking her to sign a Quit Claim Deed as part of the Divorce settlement paperwork. Is that the best way & sufficient to ensure that I will receive 100% title and rights of the house after the Divorce is finalized & approved by Judge?
You will need to do some homework, if you want anything close to a precise amount to pay her. This would include getting at least two historic appraisals, one for the date of marriage and one for the date of separation. You'll also want to get documentation showing the amount of principal outstanding on your mortgage(s) at those two points in time.
This is because the community interest (i.e. marital interest) is equal to a combination of the paydown on the mortgage(s) during the period when you were married and living together, and a proportional share of any increase in the house's equity from the date of marriage to now.
This is called a Moore/Marsden analysis. You are not required to settle matters in this way, but it is what a court will do, if you were not able to agree otherwise. But you can spitball it, if your spouse is willing to go along.
Query: Your wife was never on title, but was she ever named in a mortgage? If so, you'll have to refinance, in order to disassociate her from that obligation.
Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.
Since she doesn't have actual ownership, the best would be the Quit Claim Deed - which transfers whatever interest she has, if any.
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