How can I take my ex-spouse off my home’s deed?


Q. I purchased a home while married. My husband was incarcerated at the time. He signed papers giving up all rights to my home. We later got divorced. In the divorce decree, I was granted sole ownership of my home. Recently, I paid my home off in full. However, when I received my paperwork showing that it was paid off, his name and my name were both listed as owners. What do I need to do to get his name removed?
— Homeowner

A. We understand that seeing his name there was an unwelcome surprise to you.

You can take steps to remove your ex-spouse from the deed.

Typically, you would do this by filing a quitclaim deed, said Marnie Hards, a certified financial planner with Aznar Financial Advisors in Morris Plains.

“This document should be signed in front of a notary and then filed in the county in which you live,” Hards said. “This should remove your ex-husband from the deed.”

Once the quitclaim deed is filed, the spouse who has been removed may no longer access the property without the sole owner’s consent, Hards said.

Here’s how you do it.

First, visit Register of Deeds in the county where the property is located. Ask for the quitclaim form, a copy of the existing deed as well as a legal description of the property, Hards said.

“Then, you will need to fill out the quitclaim deed. Make sure to use the legal description provided to you when you fill out the form,” she said. “You would be the grantee and your ex-husband would be the grantor. It is important that he transfer rights in the entire property.”

A notary public must witness both of you sign the form, she said.

The completed quitclaim deed and the required fee can then be submitted to the Register of Deeds, she said.

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This story was originally published on March 18, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.