Does a divorce degree trump joint tenancy rights?

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Does a divorce degree trump joint tenancy rights?

My mom and dad had a joint tenancy with rights to survivorship when they purchased their house. However, in divorce papers she was awarded it under the condition that if it was sold or she re-married she was to pay my dad $5000 in interest. My mother was the one that paid the majority of the house off. She fell ill 16 years ago and I moved into the house and paid off the remaining balance. She was purchasing another house which she moved into. She passed without a Will 8 years ago. She had a personal representative. Her probate closed 4 years later. Nothing was stated about the house. Does this mean that my dad owns the it?

Asked on July 31, 2011 Arizona

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You first need to look at how legal title is held in the house that you are making inquiries about presently. Go down to the county recorder's office and see if the court order is recorded on the property placing it into the name of your late mother. If the court order is recorded, then title is in your mother's name.

If the home's legal title is still held in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship to your father at the time of your mother's death years after the divorce she had with your father, it appears that your mother's failure to change legal title to the property into her name under the terms of the divorce decree's order on the property may be considered a waiver of what the divorce decree stated about the home's legal title change.

You also need to go look at the probate file to make sure that the file is silent as to legal title of the home.

You might also consider consulting with a real estate attorney on the legal title issue of the home.

Good luck.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You first need to look at how legal title is held in the house that you are making inquiries about presently. Go down to the county recorder's office and see if the court order is recorded on the property placing it into the name of your late mother. If the court order is recorded, then title is in your mother's name.

If the home's legal title is still held in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship to your father at the time of your mother's death years after the divorce she had with your father, it appears that your mother's failure to change legal title to the property into her name under the terms of the divorce decree's order on the property may be considered a waiver of what the divorce decree stated about the home's legal title change.

You also need to go look at the probate file to make sure that the file is silent as to legal title of the home.

You might also consider consulting with a real estate attorney on the legal title issue of the home.

Good luck.


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