There are two common situations in which petitioning the court for a deed transfer is necessary. The most frequent situation is when the owner of real estate dies and there is no joint owner of the property. The other common situation in which you may need to petition the court for a deed transfer is in the aftermath of divorce. Finally, there are some more unique reasons why a court needs to intervene to transfer a deed. In those other circumstances, a petition for quiet title is used.
Divorce or Death
Select the appropriate court to file a petition for deed transfer. If the transfer is necessary because of a divorce, file the petition in family court. (A petition of this nature in family court commonly is a called a motion and is filed in an existing divorce case.) If the transfer is needed because of the death of a property owner, the petition is filed in probate court.
Obtain from the clerk of the court a standard form petition. Typically court clerks maintain basic forms as well as a guideline packet for individuals pursuing legal matters without the aid of an attorney.
Draft a petition seeking to transfer title of real estate from a former spouse or from a deceased individual.
Set forth in the petition the specific reasons why a court order for deed transfer is necessary (ex-spouse refused to sign deed over to you, you are the heir of a deceased individual).
Sign the petition or motion. In probate court, the petition must be signed in front of a notary public with this statement:
"The undersigned hereby states on her oath that the above and foregoing petition is true and correct to the best of her knowledge and belief."
This type of disclaimer and a notarization of your signature is not required in family court.
File the petition (or motion) with the clerk of the court.
Obtain an order from the court granting the deed transfer provided there is no legitimate objection to the request. In these types of cases, there tends to be no objection because the law or a prior order of the court makes clear who is to obtain ownership of the real estate.
Obtain a form petition for quiet title from the court clerk. This type of petition is used if there is some other reason beyond divorce or death to obtain a court order for a deed transfer. The petition for quiet title is a simple form.
Complete the form petition for quiet title, noting that court papers, including a copy of the petition, is to be served upon the last known owner of record of the real estate in question.
File the petition for quiet title with the clerk of the court.
Request a notice of publication form from the clerk of the court. Notice of the pending petition for quiet title is published in a local newspaper's legal notice section. Most states require publication for a certain number of consecutive weeks (commonly three). The notice lists a deadline by which any individual seeking to establish an ownership interest in the real estate in question must file an objection to a deed transfer with the court.
Publish the legal notice in the newspaper.
Obtain a final order from the court granting the deed transfer absent no legitimate objection. Typically there are no objections lodged in a quiet title case.