Marital Status and Title Vestings

Title Insurance with North American Title Co.

Marital Status and Title Vestings

One of the most common areas of concern in the insurance of title to residential property is that of the vesting of title, as it is affected by the marital status of the owners or prospective buyers. Although on its face, the issue would seem simple, the human condition seems to work to make it more complex all the time.

Consider the concept that a person is either married or not.Well, what about "separated?" tells a title insurer that the person is married and that there is some sort of problem between the person and his or her erstwhile spouse. Or consider the age old question of whether a person is single , unmarried ,divorced, or widowed. One of the recurring issues with which the title insurer is faced is whether the nature of the description makes a difference (it doesn't), or whether it is the number of persons on title which counts (it does).

The vesting of title , for "natural persons," may be as sole and separate property, as community property to exist, there must be a valid subsisting marriage between the parties to the purported community interest. Parties who have acquired title as community property when no valid marriage exists between them would be deemed to hold as tenants in common.

Married persons acquiring property during the marriage are presumed to have acquired as community property unless the documentation provides otherwise. If the property is to be held as separate property, the acquiescence of the spouse is generally needed, most usually in the form of a quit claim deed. The exception to this would be acquisition by gift or inheritance, which is generally accepted as being separate property unless the gift or bequest indicates otherwise. Where the spouses intend is generally accomplished by a  quit claim deed from the spouse disclaiming the interest.

If you have questions or problems in this area, a discussion with your North American Title Company title officer will give you the basic information you will need for an efficient conference with your lawyer. Always consult your lawyer when dealing with matters as important as the vesting of title to your real estate.


Written by H.Collyer Church,Vice President

Underwriting Counsel, North American Title Company

Comments (3)

Randall Schrader
Competitive Insurance of Dundee - Dundee, FL

I get issues on the marriage thing all the time.  That's great info!  Thanks.

Nov 17, 2008 05:29 AM
Jo Olson
HOMEFRONT Realty - Kettle Falls, WA
Retired - HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt

I use to handle "vesting" for a 1st American Title office - and not many people know that single is NEVER been married. Usually if they are divorced they always state "single". Oh some of the questions and stories I have heard trying to get to the proper vesting! fun!

Nov 17, 2008 06:03 AM
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I got married to my Domestic Partner on October 30, but with the Prop 8 results, who knows where we stand with property rights now? Fortunately, the California Supreme Court is going to sort things out next year. I can't see them subscribing to a mere majority of a mere ten million people voting to enshrine discrimination into the state Constitution. But you never know. It will be nice just to know whether we are full-rights citizens or second-class citizens.

Nov 22, 2008 09:19 AM