Spouse Signing Deed (Part I)

spouse signing deed


Let’s start with a common scenario: Jane is not married and decides to buy a house. She goes through the process and the result is that she now owns a house in only her name, hooray! A few weeks/months/years later, Jane gets married to John and eventually wants to sell the house she bought when she was single. Now Jane’s been told that John must sign the deed at closing. Why?

Closing attorneys run into this scenario frequently. It makes sense for Jane to believe that since she bought the house before she was married, and her name is the only one on the deed, that she would be the only person who needs to sign documents when it’s time to sell. However, North Carolina assumes that the spouse has an interest in the home by virtue of marriage. This remains true even if the spouse is not named on the deed or added as an owner after marriage. One example that illustrates this in a different context is by examining what would happen if Jane were to predecease John (specifically without a will). In that scenario, John would likely inherit the home, in whole or in part, regardless of “owning” the home by being on the deed.

The same theory applies when selling or otherwise conveying real property. Even though John does not own the house, he does have certain rights simply because he is married to Jane. Therefore, John needs to sign the deed in order to waive any marital interest he has in the home and fully transfer title to the buyer.

Revolution Law Group is located in Greensboro, NC, and serves individuals and small businesses throughout the Triad and surrounding areas. To contact us please visit Revolution.law or call 336-333-7907.

The information included here is for informational purposes only, is not exhaustive of all considerations when creating documents, is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be relied upon for that purpose. We strongly recommend you consult with an attorney and do not attempt to create your own documents.