When examining title, you must determine whether the owner’s marital status has changed since acquisition of title. You must review any divorce to determine whether title has been awarded or any lien has been created, even if a deed from one spouse to the other spouse is recorded.
Record Copy of Divorce
The Company requires that a certified copy of The Decree of Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage and Property Settlement Agreement in the matter of the Marriage of ______________ and ______________, Case or Docket No. ____________ be filed for record where the land is located.
Comment: The divorce decree is usually not constructive notice unless a certified copy is recorded in the local real property records. Out of state divorces do not vest title unless you also secure a deed from the other spouse.
Review Copy of Divorce
The Company requires for its review a copy of the docket sheet, Decree of Divorce or Dissolution, and Settlement Agreement, if any, between ____________ and ____________. At that time, the Company may make additional requirements or exceptions.
Comment: If you are aware of a divorce of the present or prior owners, always review the divorce, even if a deed from one spouse to the other spouse is recorded. The divorce may evidence special rights, create a lien, or award an interest to a spouse or third party.
The Company is informed that _________________ and ________________ were divorced by Decree of Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage under Case or Docket No. ________________. The Company requires for its review a satisfactory deed from __________________ to ______________ and satisfactory evidence that the grantor has been paid all amounts owed and that the deed has been delivered. At that time, the Company may make additional requirements or exceptions.
Comment: If the divorce does not divest the spouse of an interest, does not satisfactorily divest (e.g., inadequate description) the spouse of an interest, or creates or vests rights in the spouse who is not selling, require a deed and also verify that the spouse is paid in full and that the deed has been delivered. Recorded deeds between ex-spouses are often suspect as possible forgeries. If an out of state divorce awards title, require a separate deed; the out of state court does not have jurisdiction over the land.
Release of Divorce Lien
The Company requires a satisfactory release in recordable form from _______________ to _____________ of any liens established by the Decree of Divorce of Dissolution or related agreement and satisfactory evidence of payment in full of all amounts owed. At that time, the Company may make additional requirements or exceptions.
Comment: If the divorce creates a lien in favor of one spouse, require a release and verify that the release is delivered and all amounts paid. Recorded releases are often suspect as possible forgeries. If a divorce agreement provides that one spouse is to pay the other to equalize property division, it may create an implied vendor’s lien.
See Underwriting Manual
A pending suit for divorce styled In the Matter of Marriage of _________ and ________ is pending in the District Court under Case or Docket No. _____ . This suit must be reviewed prior to closing. At the time, the Company may make additional requirements or exceptions.
Comment: If you are aware of a pending divorce of an owner, always review the divorce and require a release or deed from the other spouse.
Alimony judgment in favor of __________ against __________ pursuant to that divorce or dissolution decree under Case or Docket Number ___________ recorded ________. The Company requires for its review satisfactory evidence that such amounts are paid current through Date of Policy.
Comment: In some jurisdictions, an alimony judgment will be a lien only if amounts are owed at the time of a transfer.
Child Support Judgment
Court order for installment payments of spousal and/or child support to be made by __________________ pursuant to Case or Docket No. _______ recorded ________. The Company requires for its review a satisfactory acknowledgment of satisfaction of all matured installments current through Date of Policy.
Comment: In some jurisdictions, a child support judgment will be a lien only if amounts are owed at time of a transfer.
Terms of Divorce
Terms and Provisions of a Decree of Divorce in the Matter of ___________________ v. ____________________, recorded ______________________.
Comment: In some unusual circumstances, the divorce may create special obligations or covenants, in addition to vesting title, to creating a lien or to awarding another interest. The lien on title awarded should be separately characterized.