Should you use a quitclaim deed in your divorce?

You're getting a divorce, and your spouse wants to keep the family home. You're amenable to that, but you need to find a way to transfer the title of the property to your ex's name alone. Should you use a quitclaim deed?

Maybe. Read on for what you need to know.

What's a quitclaim deed?

A quitclaim deed is easy to execute. It generally only requires a few simple forms, a notary and a trip to the county clerk's office to file. It is also usually done without an inspection or any other type of due diligence.

Quitclaim deeds aren't used very often because they offer the least amount of warranty from one property owner to another. They essentially do nothing more than transfer any ownership interest someone may have in a property to the other party without addressing any possible encumbrances or problems it may have.

Why that could be a problem

Using a quitclaim deed so that you can get your name off of a piece of real estate in a divorce may only accomplish a small part of your goals. If you use a quitclaim, you no longer have ownership rights over the property -- but you could still be saddled with its debts.

The quitclaim deed doesn't take any liability for a mortgage off your shoulders. If the house has a mortgage that is in both your name and your spouse's name, the only way to end your legal responsibility to the lender is to have your spouse refinance the property alone or pay it off.

Ending your entanglement with your ex-spouse can take time when real estate is involved. Make sure that you have sound guidance during the process from beginning to end so that you don't end up with an unpleasant surprise down the road.