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Dec 15

Real Estate Insights: Who Owns the Property After a Divorce?

Settling Former Ownership and Lost/Incomplete Paperwork

Sometimes in a divorce, marital property wasn’t transferred or titled correctly. Years later, when the property is sold, the former spouse may be hard to locate or uncooperative. These are some of the issues that can arise.

The Deal

Home purchase in Long Island (Nassau County) for $1,500,000 with a mortgage of $1,200,000

Fee Policy – $6,021
Loan Policy – $1,247
Title Fees – $500+
Recording Fees to Nassau County – $1,500+
Mortgage Tax to NY State – $9,570
Transfer Tax to NY State – $6,000
Mansion Tax to NY State – $15,000

Cornerstone Insight

When property is transferred or sold after a divorce, the question may arise whether the person who owns the property is the sole owner. You don’t want to find out six months later that someone else claims they own 50% of the property.

If someone transfers real property pursuant to a divorce and doesn’t act in accordance with the divorce decree, ownership of the property can be in question. It’s important to make sure the transfer documents were prepared correctly, the transfer taxes were correctly paid and the grantor and grantee received exactly what they were supposed to receive pursuant to the decree. Most importantly, the current owner must have the proper supporting documents establishing their ownership. If the title abstract shows a transfer from husband and wife to the wife alone, and the deed was recorded without making representations as to the circumstances of the transfer, a future sale may be delayed. Or maybe the wrong type of deed was filed, and the ex-spouse can’t be found, which can result in delays and extra costs—maybe even the expiration of the mortgage lock-in period. The proper up-front process can avoid all these issues.

If you have any questions about deed transfers during divorce or other potential title issues, or if you would like to discuss an upcoming or potential transaction, please contact us.