Maryland/DC Divorce: Do I Need to Update the Deed to the House After the Divorce is Finalized?

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The answer is “maybe yes, maybe no.” The answer depends on how the Maryland/DC divorce court ruled with respect to the marital home and/or any other real property owned by the divorcing spouses.

Before discussing the question further, our Maryland and D.C. family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl will first note why real property deeds might need to be updated and changed. The answer is that the divorce process and the final divorce decree DOES NOT change titles and deeds to real property. Deeds are separate legal documents with separate legal rules. As such, different actions must be taken to update and modify deeds based on what happened during the divorce. These actions include the preparation, execution, and recordation of new/amended deeds.

So, do I need to update real property deeds after a divorce? As noted, it depends. If, for example, the Maryland/DC court ordered the marital home to be sold, then, for obvious reasons, there would be no need to update the deed to the marital home. By virtue of the sale, the deed would be transferred to the buyer(s).

Aside from whether a sale of real property is ordered, there are several other factors that bear on the question of whether a deed should be updated after a Maryland/DC divorce is finalized. One factor is how the property was titled prior to the divorce. For example, no change would be needed if the marital home (and/or other property) was solely and individually titled in one spouse’s name, AND that status was NOT changed by the divorce court.

For example, if the marital home was titled solely and individually in the wife’s name and the divorce, the court awarded sole ownership of the home to the wife, then no change in the deed would be required post-divorce. By contrast, if the marital home was titled in the names of both spouses and the divorce, the court awarded sole ownership of the home to one spouse or the other, then the deed MUST be updated and changed.

Another factor that bears on the question is whether any property in question is deemed by the Maryland/DC court to be non-marital property. Generally, this would be property that:

  • Was separately owned by one spouse prior to the marriage.
  • Was obtained/purchased through money or value that was separate non-marital property.
  • It was obtained through an inheritance.
  • Was obtained through a gift that was made exclusively to one spouse.
  • Etc.

Generally speaking, such property would be titled separately and individually in the name of one spouse. NO update or change to the deed in question would be needed for these types of real property AS LONG AS there was no dispute between the spouses and/or the Maryland/DC court agreed that the property was, in fact, non-marital property. Even if any real property were deemed marital property, NO update or change to the deed would be needed if the Maryland/DC court awarded sole ownership of the real property to the spouse currently in the title.

Note that real property held in the name of a corporate entity — such as a family business — would not need to be changed or updated in most circumstances. This is because, generally, spouses would dispute ownership of the business, and that ownership interest would be decided by the Maryland/DC divorce court without affecting the assets owned by the business or how such assets were titled.

Maryland And D.C. Family Law Attorneys

Contact the seasoned and experienced Maryland and D.C. family law lawyers at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl for more information. We have the skills and expertise you need. We have proven experience with family law for Maryland and the District of Columbia. Schedule a consultation today or call us at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280. We have offices in Columbia, MD, and Washington, DC.

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