What are my rights to a house if I’m listed on the quitclaim deed?

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What are my rights to a house if I’m listed on the quitclaim deed?

My husband’s uncle allowed him to buy out his reverse mortgage. My husband purchased the home and secured the loan for $375,000 in his name only. As a condition of sale, the uncle wanted me to sign a quitclaim; he was somehow under the false impression that I would try to sell the property. At the time, my husband and I decided that was the best decision so that we could acquire the property as an investment. The above happened 10 years ago. Now we are divorcing. He claims that I have no right to the property even though it’s upkeep has come from comingled funds. I feel I signed under fraudulent conditions because the acquisition of the home was intended as a mutual investment and I only signed the claim to appease the uncle and let us purchase the home. Is there a point to having signed a quitclaim deed if my name was never on the mortgage or title? Do I have any rights to the home since it was purchased during our marriage with marital money? By the way, this is a second home that was used as rental property. I live in a community property state.

Asked on April 16, 2018 under Family Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A quitclaim deed is one of those things in the law that means what it says: you quit, or give up, your claims, or any rights you *may* have, in property. In a quitclaim, you do not guaranty that you have rights or specify what they are; you are saying that IF you have rights, WHATEVER they are, you renounce or give them up to another.
If you were not married at the time you quitclaimed, that would be end of story: in quitclaiming, you would have given up any rights you might have to the property or equity in it.
But you were married. The home was purchased during marriage. In your state, that makes it community property regardless of whose name it was acquired in, your quitclaim, etc. Each spouse has an interest in anything acquired during marriage (apart from an inheritance to only 1 spouse, or a gift to only 1 spouse). Therefore, you should have an interest in the home, or at least in its value, during the divorce, for which you should get compenation. This is a case where family law creates a right for you even though you gave up your rights under a different branch of law, real property law.


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