When you’re going through a breakup, legal documents are often the last thing you want to deal with. The emotional upheaval and logistics of a separation typically take priority over all other details, but it is crucial for separating couples to protect their property rights during a breakup. Whether you were legally married or not, your property rights in jointly-owned real estate could be impaired if you do not correct your deeds after a breakup. It is essential to consult with a Pittsburgh real estate lawyer to determine the best way of protecting your legal rights in the property.
The lawyers at Stoner Law Offices, LLC are highly skilled Pittsburgh real estate attorneys. We have extensive experience with real estate deeds, partition actions, buyouts, and other strategies used for dividing property interests. We can help you determine the best method of protecting your legal interest in property that is owned jointly with a former partner. Call 412-515-0939 today to schedule your free consultation.
What is a Partition Action?
A partition action is used to divide legal interest in real property that is jointly held between two or more people. The Washington Post discusses common examples of scenarios in which a partition action can be used to divide legal interests in a property. A partition action is not always necessary: for example, the owners can agree to sell the property and divide the profits. If, however, the owners cannot agree on how to divide the property, the court may need to intervene to determine each party’s rights. A partition action can be used to physically divide the property. It can also be used to divide the parties’ economic interests in the property. For example, the parties might disagree on whether the ownership is 50/50, 60/40, or some other division based upon their initial contributions. At the end of a partition action, the court will issue orders to clarify each owner’s interest in the property. A real estate attorney can then draft the proper deeds to implement these orders.
Other Methods of Resolving Property Disputes
As discussed, a partition action is not always necessary. The parties can agree to sell the property and convey the property to the new owner through a traditional warranty deed. The parties can also agree to allow one owner to buy out the other for a negotiated price. In this case, the partner being bought out would convey his or her interest to the other, and this would likely be done through the use of a quitclaim deed.
If the owners were married, their legal rights in the property can be adjudicated by the family court during divorce proceedings. Here, too, the parties would likely use a quitclaim deed to effectuate the final orders of the divorce court. But many co-owners are couples who were never married. In this case, the owners will have to go to the civil court for a partition action if they cannot agree on the disposition of the property.
Taking One Borrower Off the Mortgage
If there is a mortgage on the property, it is important to be sure that your mortgage is also updated to reflect changes in ownership. Failure to do so could be a breach of your mortgage agreement. It can also cause problems with your ex that are better avoided. If, for example, their name is still on the mortgage, your ex might try to claim some ownership interest in the property even after the deeds have been executed. While the ex might not have a right to possess the property, he or she could be entitled to compensation for any mortgage payments made after ownership was transferred. This could lead to even more costly legal battles. It is better to avoid confrontations with both the lender and your ex by being proactive, and updating the mortgage before ownership is transferred. A small amount of effort now can save you significant time and money in the future.
Why It is Important to Have a Real Estate Attorney Prepare Your Deed
Whether you have negotiated a buyout, sold the property outright, or had your rights adjudicated in a partition action or divorce, it is absolutely critical that you let an experienced Pittsburgh real estate attorney prepare the deeds that will effectuate the changes in ownership. An improper deed can prevent you from selling the property later. A title company will flag any potential problem with the title to your property, and if your ex did not properly sign away all legal interest in the property, you will not have good, marketable title to provide to a buyer. Here are just some of the problems that can arise:
● Your rights were adjudicated in a divorce lawsuit or partition action, but your ex never signed a deed to make these changes effective.
● The wrong type of deed was used to convey your ex’s interest.
● The deed signed by your ex did not accurately state the type of interest that was being conveyed.
● There were typographical errors (for example, names, dates, or the address of the property) that made the deed ineffective.
● The deed was not notarized.
● The deed was not recorded properly.
These are just a few of the many problems that could prevent you from conveying marketable title to a third party. By hiring an experienced real estate attorney to properly execute a deed, you can avoid these problems in the future. The investment of a small amount of attorney’s fees know could save you a huge amount of attorney’s fees in the future. Call Today to Schedule a Free If you are in the process of dividing property with a former partner, it is important to be sure your real estate is addressed properly. Failure to correct an old deed can affect both your property rights and the rights of those you want to inherit your property after you are gone. Save time, money, and confusion by correcting your deeds as soon as possible. To protect your rights and schedule a consultation with a real estate lawyer in Pittsburgh, call our office today at 412- 219-9437 or contact us online.