Does a Quitclaim Deed Negate Community Property Ownership?

Quitclaim deeds can dissolve or create community property.
i Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Quitclaim deeds may be used to transfer property rights between related parties, such as a husband and wife. Certain states are community property states, in which earnings, assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered shared equally by both parties. The original deed to a property acquired by a married couple in a community property state would list the object of the deed as community property. One spouse may release ownership interest in community property through a quitclaim deed.

Community Property

Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin are the only states with community property laws. These states assume that any financial transactions that occur during the marriage are shared equally by both parties. The laws allow spouses to obtain property and other assets as individuals, but income earned or debt acquired is divided equally between husband and wife.

Death of a Spouse

In a community property state, when a spouse dies the surviving spouse is automatically granted the other share of property ownership under the law. This is also known as community property with rights of survivorship. However, if the deceased had a will stating that another individual is to inherit the ownership rights, the surviving spouse would not be granted the other share. In these situations, probate court is generally involved to oversee that the will is being carried out properly. The surviving spouse would then share his ownership rights with the inheritor.

Quitclaim Deeds

Quitclaim deeds are used for a variety of purposes in real estate. Commonly, an individual is added or removed from the title. Quitclaim deeds are not generally used when a property is sold for a considerable amount of money. Once a quitclaim is signed in the presence of a certified notary public, it must be filed on record with the county where the property is located. This will ensure that the correct persons are listed for tax purposes.

Negating Community Property

One party can relinquish his share of ownership at any time. The quitclaim deed identifies the granting party and the person to whom the rights are being granted. The other party in the community ownership remains on the title as before, but the property is no longer considered community property. In divorce situations, various laws must be taken into account in dissolution of community property.

the nest