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The Divorce Encyclopedia

Term Definition Quitclaim - to release or relinquish legal claim, or a document relinquishing claim, as in a quitclaim to the deed to the marital house.
Application in Divorce One way to remember the scope of a quitclaim is to know the largest quitclaim real estate transaction in history -- the Louisiana Purchase, where France signed its interest in one-third the land area of what became the lower forty-eight states.

In some states, it is a deed which transfers nothing more than interest which the grantor may have, if any, at the time of the transaction, and "excludes any implication that he has any title or interest in described realty." In other words, a quitclaim is used to "clear the air," so to speak, about property when there may be some doubt about claims to its ownership. In some jurisdictions, a quitclaim deed warrants that the grantor has not encumbered the property.

This class of deed contains no warranties, and is usually used to release an owner’s claim to rights in jointly owned property. In actions involving the transfer of a marital home from joint ownership, that of a divorcing husband and wife, a quit claim might be given by one spouse to another as part of settlement.

By comparison, a warranty deed conveys a marketable title, one which is good and clear, and carries with it the covenants of seisin, quiet enjoyment, right to convey, freedom from encumbrances and defense of title to all claims. A third party buying the marital home of a divorcing couple on the open market would expect a warranty deed.

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