My Ex Won't Sign The Deed to My House!

Picture by Sarah Joy
Sometimes people get so caught up in just being done with a divorce that they do not follow through with all of the paperwork to transfer the property.  Sometimes, the ex is just a difficult person to deal with and refuses to sign the necessary quitclaim deeds, titles, etc. to follow through with the marital settlement agreement or divorce decree.  Sometimes these issues come up within weeks of the divorce being finalized.  Sometimes this issues comes up years after the fact.  What can be done?

The easiest thing, of course, is to contact the other party and secure his/her signature to convey the property.  If that is not possible, things get a little more difficult, but not impossible.

The first option is to file a motion to compel the other party to sign the deed.  Normally, if the court grants the motion the other party will have a limited amount of time to sign the deed or face consequences from the court.  In one particular case I witnessed, the wife was being particularly recalcitrant about conveying some property in a highly contested divorce.  The judge ordered her to sign off on the deed that the attorney had brought to the hearing.  The woman continued to argue with the judge until the judge told her she had sixty seconds to sign the deed.  The woman continued to argue and it was not until the judge started counting down the last ten seconds of the time limit and the bailiff pulled out the handcuffs that the woman finally signed the deed.  The point of the story is that court's take their orders seriously and will enforce them.

Another option that residents of Kentucky have is to resort to the master commissioner.  The master commissioner has the authority to convey property pursuant to a court order.  Therefore, if you secure an order from the court directing the master commissioner to convey the property, you can avoid having to track down the ex's signature.

The best way to prevent this situation is to avoid it altogether and make sure that all of the paperwork is done immediately after the settlement agreement is signed or the decree is entered.  If you have more questions, contact the Alford Law Office.

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