The Divorce isn’t Final Until the Title is Transferred and the Mortgage Refinanced

Guest post written by Dagmar Llaudy, a trial attorney that practices in the areas of Real Estate and Health Care.

Unfortunately, unless you and your attorney have taken the necessary steps, this is not the case.  Quite simply, even if a judge has awarded you the property through a judgment or you have come to a settlement, this does not suffice to transfer real property in Florida.  A judicial order, award or decree does not have the effect of changing the chain of title in a property.   In order to effectuate this transfer, a deed, often times a Quit Claim Deed, must be executed by the person on the title. 

Often times in our practice, we encounter clients who were awarded property during a divorce but the title has not transferred due to a failure to obtain a deed.  For example, if the husband and wife were both on title to the property and the husband either relinquishes his right to real estate or the property was awarded to the wife, the husband MUST execute a deed in favor of the wife and that deed MUST be duly recorded in the county recorder’s office in order to finalize the transfer.  Unfortunately, during acrimonious family matters, if this is not done at the time of litigation, the parties will be forced back into court in order to require a party to sign a deed.  Working with an experienced real estate attorney in conjunction with your family attorney will prevent this unnecessary cost and aggravation. 

Another issue that we encounter frequently is a party remaining responsible on a mortgage loan, when the property has been awarded to their former partner in a family proceeding.  Here, once again, caution and additional steps are required.   Using the example above, if the Husband who has now executed a deed in favor of the wife, was on the original mortgage loan for the property, a judicial order or settlement will not absolve him from financial responsibility for that debt.  In fact, under those circumstances, the Husband will no longer be on title but will still be responsible for the debt with the lender.  It is all too common for the partner to find out that this is the case, only when the loan goes into default and creditors begin to call! One common solution to this issue, is for the party remaining on title to refinance the property, thereby removing their former partner from the original mortgage note.   This, however, is not always feasible due to income, credit or other financial issues.  Once again, the parties will be forced back into family court to protect their respective interests. 

Finally, how you hold title matters.   Frequently, clients inquire about adding minor children, parents or new partners to the title of their homes.  These may all represent valid concerns, but should be carefully evaluated as they may all present distinct pit falls, depending on your personal situation.  We are happy to help you navigate these matters and all other real estate concerns.   

Dagmar Llaudy is a trial attorney that practices in the areas of Real Estate and Health Care.  Her firm, located in Coral Gables, offers a full real estate closing and title service for both residential and commercial transactions.  Dagmar is a member of the Florida Bar and is admitted to practice in the Southern and Middle Districts of the Florida Federal Bar.  You can contact the Law Offices of Dagmar Llaudy, PA by calling 305-854-1775.

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