Do-It-Yourself Divorce: How to File a Quit Claim Deed

By Sharon Pastore, Main Line Family Law Center

Quit Claim Deed

Are you trying to handle your divorce yourself or without lawyers?  Maybe you want your spouse have agreed how to split the marital property (i.e. house, car) and you simply need his or her name off the deed.  Here's a simple tip that can save you time and expense.

 "My Spouse Agreed to Get Off the Deed - Can I Do This Myself?"

You can use a simple form, called a quitclaim deed, to transfer your joint property ownership to either yourself, a family member, a former spouse, or even a trust. Many utilize this deed to make property title transfers without the time and expense of legal fees.  In using a quitclaim deed, you are able to make the necessary legal changes, allowing you to move on to your new beginning more quickly.

When is a Quitclaim Deed Used?

A quitclaim deed is typically used in cases that consist of a simple title transfer from one spouse to another. A quitclaim deed is generally used when one spouse transfers ownership of marital property (i.e., the marital residence) to the other without it being sold (typically in the form of a $1 dollar transfer). Further, if spouses sign a marital settlement agreement that specifies a title transfer of real property such as the marital home, they are generally exempt from having to pay realty transfer taxes upon the transfer. This is the case even if the title transfer occurs after the divore is finalized.  

Do I need a Quitclaim Deed?

Although quitclaim deeds seem easy and useful, it is not always the most appropriate claim to use when making a transfer of property ownership. A quitclaim deed can be limited in that it transfers only the property ownership rights of one spouse to the other but does not warrant the title that is being transferred. For example, if the title interest being transferred is subject to a lien or other encumbrance, the quitclaim deed does not protect the other spouse from liability for the lien or encumbrance upon the transfer.  In such cases, the more appropriate deed to execute would be a special warranty deed which warrants to the transferee that the title being transferred is free and clear.  The lesson here is for spouses to make sure that a title search has been conducted on the property prior to the transfer

Where can I get a Quitclaim Deed?

Seeing that we live in a “Do-It-Yourself” generation, there are a variety of websites that make filing a quitclaim deed easy and accessible. Using a site like RocketLawyer for example, you are able to efficiently and securely create legal documents or forms online. Most importantly, many of these sites provides their clientele with a network of on-call attorneys who are available to assist in the process.

To many, this process seems daunting and nearly impossible, however the various resources and sample documents available online make the task fairly simple and manageable. Getting started, you will need to build your document. Be sure to include the exact questions that need to be addressed in the document such as the property description, date of transfer, parties involved, payment, tax information and exemptions, and mineral rights.

What if we want to do the rest of our divorce ourselves?

Don’t forget- there are plenty of legal professionals available to help during any step of the process, simply click here to learn more information about SimpleDivorce Filer, in which you can find all the necessary legal forms and documents. After the document is solidified, it will need to be signed in order to make it legal.

Filing for divorce yourselves in PA 

Watch this quick overview video of the filing process.

SimpleDivorce Filer video tutorial


You may also be interested in reading 5 Money Pitfalls of a Do-It-Yourself-Divorce to learn about how to avoid the mistakes that often waste money (and sometimes waste time too)!


About the Author

Sharon Pastore, Main Line Family Law Center

Picture of Sharon Pastore, Main Line Family Law Center Sharon Pastore is Co-Founder of Main Line Family Law Center, which was established in 2012. She is on a mission to generate awareness, understanding and trust around mediation as a healthier option for separation and divorce well before a client's first consultation. She draws upon over 17 years in nonprofit, education and marketing to enable more spouses to "get to the table" and mediate successfully.

Topics: Do it Yourself Divorce