Kahului, HI asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: Need a Letter of Satisfaction prior to Quick Claim Deed, but he's refusing. Advice?

My parents are divorced but still own a house together. My father asked my mother for a quick claim deed on the house, which she agreed to. However, she needs a Letter of Satisfaction to make sure she is not financially responsible for the property/mortgage. He refuses to sign it, claiming she is not on any of the mortgages, but will no provide proof and is now holding her in contempt of court for not providing the quick claim deed. Is there a way we can force his hand to provide a Letter of Satisfaction in order to ensure she is not held liable before she signs the quick claim deed? (note: my parents live in different states, but the house is in NY)

1 Lawyer Answer
Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: You are messing up legal terms and concepts, and making this way too complicated. By contempt of court, I assume there is a matrimonial case. If there is a decree there, your mother must do what the decree says. If it was a stupid decree, you may need a motion in that case to clarify or amend it. A "quitclaim" deed is often required in divorces when one spouse gets the property. It is a deed without warranty, and not the best way to convey title but bad matrimonial lawyers often use that term. Whether there are mortgages of record can be determined by a simple title search, and depending on the county, online. No deal between your father and mother can change whatever your mother signed with a bank. If there is a loan, there is a loan, and the decree in the divorce should have dealt with it. The title search will yield a copy of the mortgages, if any, and thus whether your mother signed.

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