How to Relinquish the Title & Financial Responsibility of Real Property During Divorce in California

By Jennifer Williams

Equal division of real property, such as the marital residence, in a California divorce often means the home is sold and proceeds divided according to the court's instructions. This is especially true if there is a mortgage on the property that both spouses are responsible for. However, it is possible to relinquish title and financial responsibility for the property, effectively allowing your spouse to buy you out of the jointly owned real property.

Step 1

Negotiate with your spouse. Agree that he will retain the marital home by taking title and assuming full financial responsibility. In exchange, agree that he will pay you one-half of the home's current value - your share of the marital property. Alternatively, he can compensate you with other marital property of the same value.

Step 2

Agree how the current mortgage will be paid while you wait for your spouse to qualify for a mortgage in his name alone. You may need to continue paying half the mortgage until his closing as both of you continue to be responsible for payment, in the eyes of the lender, until your spouse closes on his own mortgage.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Execute a quitclaim deed to your spouse. In a quitclaim deed, you relinquish all ownership rights in the property to your spouse. You can obtain a quitclaim deed form from your county assessor's office or from an online legal document provider. Complete the form according to the instructions provided. In California, requirements for a quitclaim deed vary from county to county, but generally the relinquishing spouse must sign it before a notary and have it notarized, which includes providing a thumbprint.

Step 4

Inform your spouse that the California Revenue and Taxation Code requires him to file a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report with the assessor's office in the county where the property is located. Obtain the form from the county assessor's office. The retaining spouse must fill it out according to its instructions, sign it before a notary and have it notarized.

Step 5

File the quitclaim deed and Preliminary Change of Ownership Report with the county recorder's office. Either party may file the documents. A filing fee may be required at the time of filing. Regardless of which spouse files the documents, he or she should request file-stamped copies of both documents for each spouse's personal records. If the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report is not filed with the quitclaim deed, it must be filed within 90 days of its execution.

Step 6

Execute the Change of Ownership Statement sent by the county assessor's office if one is received. Usually the assessor's office only sends out a Change of Ownership Statement if the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report is incomplete or not filed correctly. Fill out the statement according to its instructions and send it back to the county assessor's office.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How do I Change a Quit Claim Deed in New Hampshire After a Divorce is Final?


Related articles

How to List the Title to Real Estate in a California Living Trust

The popularity of living trusts has been growing due in part to the increasing awareness of the probate process. Probate is a court process that oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s property. In California, probate often takes several years to complete and costs thousands of dollars. A living trust is a means of leaving property to named individuals after the death of the property owner without requiring probate. In California, the process of transferring real property to a living trust is fairly straightforward.

How to Change Ownership of a California LLC

The ownership of an LLC may change either through the outright sale of the company, or through the addition or withdrawal of its owners, also called members. While California law provides default voting procedures for ownership changes in an LLC, the operating agreement or articles of organization may provide voting procedures that override California law. Changes in the ownership of an LLC must be reported to the California State Board of Equalization.

Quit Claim & Divorce Laws in Michigan

Michigan couples, like couples around the country, must split their marital property when they divorce, including the marital home. Since a house can't be divided down the middle, couples sometimes decide to split the value of the home; one spouse keeps the home and the mortgage, while the other gets her share of the equity in the form of a buyout. The spouse who gets the buyout signs a quit claim deed to give the other spouse full title to the home.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Remove a Spouse's Name Off a Title at the DMV in California in a Divorce

Even if you've kept your divorce private, the California Department of Motor Vehicles needs to know. California car ...

Deleting an Owner From a Certificate of Title in a Divorce in Colorado

When a married couple splits up in Colorado, their property is also split between them. The judge's order of ...

Is a Quitclaim Deed on a House Binding in a Divorce?

Often, a divorcing couple's biggest asset is the home they own together, and this home must be split with their other ...

How to Be Released From a Mortgage in a Divorce

For many divorcing couples, their home is the biggest asset to be split -- and the biggest debt. Even spouses who can ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED