Interspousal transfer deed forms transfer property or property ownership interests between spouses, for example, as a result of a divorce settlement. Not all states recognize interspousal transfer deeds. Among those that do, rules vary significantly, and community property laws can sometimes trump interspousal transfer deeds in court. It's a good idea to consult an attorney before you fill out an interspousal transfer form, in case you accidentally sign away your property rights.
When You Should Use an Interspousal Transfer Deed
An interspousal transfer deed transfers property from one spouse to another. It is commonly used whenever a spouse is added or removed from the property title, perhaps as a result of divorce settlement, or the case in which you want to add your spouse to your separate property as co-owner. Interspousal transfer deeds are also used when one spouse has poor credit which negatively impacts either the couple's finances or the other spouse's finances or mortgage application.
Similar to a Quitclaim, But Different
An interspousal transfer deed looks similar to a quitclaim deed and in many states, a quitclaim is the preferred or only document. However, an interspousal transfer can offer some attractive tax benefits. In California, for example, transferring property with an interspousal deed is not considered a change of ownership, so you won't have to pay transfer taxes or have a reassessment of the property's value.
Writing an Interspousal Transfer Deed
If you're writing the deed yourself, download a blank interspousal transfer deed form from a legal documents website. Rules vary in different jurisdictions regarding community property and other marital property rights, so make sure that the deed complies with the formalities of your state. If in doubt, consult an attorney.
Write the full names and addresses of the spouses involved in the transfer. The person giving or transferring the property ownership interest should write his or her name in the first blank space. This person is the "grantor" – the space to write the grantor's name might appear before the words "hereby grants" or similar language. The person receiving the ownership interest is the "grantee."
Write the full legal description of the property you are transferring, such as the plat or lot number, street address, and county and state where the property is located. If possible, copy the legal description from your property deed. If you know only the street address, you can use this to identify the property. However, the legal description is better as street addresses can change, while legal descriptions do not.
Filing and Recording the Deed
Most states require you to sign the deed in front of a notary public, and then file the deed with the Recorder of Deeds for the county where the property is located. The deed is effective as soon as the grantor signs it.