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Fraudulent Quit Claim Deed Is Ineffective in an Arizona Divorce

Posted on : August 9, 2016, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
Fraudulent Quit Claim Deed is Ineffective in an Arizona Divorce

Fraudulent Quit Claim Deed is Ineffective in an Arizona Divorce

In Arizona, a spouse signing over property by quitclaim generally gives up all interest in it. However, that isn’t always the case.

In Armer v. Armer, 463 P.2d 818 (1970), the Arizona Supreme Court considered several quitclaim deeds a spouse signed. It reviewed each to determine whether the spouse intended to relinquish her interest in the property.

Facts of the Case

Mr. and Mrs. Armer were married for 18 years and had four children. The divorce court divided their community property between the two of them, and Mr. Armer appealed the division. He particularly disputed the court’s ruling regarding two pieces of real estate. The court called them: 1. the Black Canyon property and 2. the Coon Creek property.

The Black Canyon Property

Fraudulent Quit Claim Deed is Ineffective in a Divorce.

Fraudulent Quit Claim Deed is Ineffective in a Divorce.

Husband argues that the Black Canyon property was his separate property rather than community property. However, wife asserted in the pleadings that it was community property and husband failed to contest this until appeal. Therefore he waived the issue.

This property was acquired in the names of both husband and wife. However, wife executed a quitclaim deed to Mr. Armer to take advantage of his Veterans’ Exemption from property taxation.

The Court found that Mrs. Armer did not intend the quitclaim of the land to be a gift of her interest. Rather, it was done for tax purposes. Since there was no clear intention by the wife to give away her interest, the community property character remains unchanged.

The Coon Creek Property

Husband claims that the Coon Creek property is not community property. He says it is the property of his mother, currently on the title as the owner.

During the Armer’s marriage, they purchased this house in Coon Creek, intending to live there. They took title to the property in both their names as joint tenants. But because there were no schools in the area, they did not move.

Unknown to Mrs. Armer and against her wishes, Mr. Armer’s mother paid off the principal of $20,000. Mr. Armer then suggested that his mother is allowed to live in the property and she agreed.

Mr. Armer then asked his wife to sign a quit claim deed of the property to his mother. He told her that the deed would never be notarized or filed. He said it was to provide security to his mother in case the two of them died in an accident. Again, she agreed. Husband then signed the deed and his mother filed it. Mrs. Armer did not learn what had actually happened until the divorce.

The trial court ruled that the money paid by Mr. Armer’s mother was a gift to the community. It further determined that the Armer’s had owned the property as tenants in common, not community property. Therefore each spouse could transfer their own interest.

It ruled that husband only transferred his own half to his mother since he acted fraudulently in getting Mrs. Armer to sign the deed.

Divorce: Fraudulent Deed is Ineffective.

Divorce: Fraudulent Deed is Ineffective.

The Supreme Court agreed that the money paid by husband’s mother was a gift to the community. The mother’s own testimony showed her intention to gift the money to the couple. However, it found that Mr. Armer and Mrs. Armer held the property as community property, not as tenants in common.

The Court found that husband acted fraudulently in notarizing and filing the deed after he promised he would not do so. A husband in Arizona is considered the head of the family. However, he is not entitled to sell community property without his wife’s permission.

The Court found that this fraud made the entire quitclaim deed void. The Deed did not transfer any interest in husband’s mother, but rather the entire property remained the community property of the Armer’s.

Conclusion

The Court reversed that part of the trial court’s judgment dealing with the ownership of Coon Creek Ranch. It sent the case back to the trial court to divide the Coon Creek property between Mr. and Mrs. Armer.

Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
A Google User
20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
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Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
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I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
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A Google User
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Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
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Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
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I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
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I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
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Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
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