Arizona is a community property state, so all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered marital property. If you bought the home during the marriage, you don't necessarily need to add your wife to the deed for her to have ownership rights. However, if you owned your home before the marriage, it's considered separate property. You can make your home a marital asset by adding your wife's name using a quitclaim deed.
How a Quitclaim Deed Works
A quitclaim deed doesn't guarantee a clear property title, so it's generally reserved for property transfers between relatives and close friends. As the name implies, the quitclaim deed allows you to "quit" or give up a share of your interest in the home. The quitclaim deed replaces the current deed. It must be recorded.
Obtaining a Quitclaim Deed Form
You can buy a blank quitclaim deed form at an office supply store, stationery store or title company. County clerks also provide the forms in person and online; some charge a nominal fee. Although the wording on each form may vary slightly, all quitclaims deeds will contain the same basic elements. If you prefer, you can create your own quitclaim deed from scratch, but you'll need to follow specific state requirements. For example, margins must be at least 1/2 inch on the top, bottom, left and right. You'll also need to include a 2 1/2 inch top margin on the first page for document stamping.
Completing the Form
To complete a quitclaim deed, you'll need to:
- Enter your name in the "prepared by" space.
- List yourself as the grantor, as you're the party giving up your interest.
- Name yourself and your wife as the grantees. Since you want to remain on the deed, you'll need to also be a grantee, or receiving party.
- List your current primary residence in any spaces that request the grantor's address.
- Include a legal description of the property as it appears on the current deed.
- Sign the deed in the presence of a witness and notary public. Only you need to sign the deed. Your wife's signature isn't necessary, because she isn't giving up any ownership rights.
Recording the Deed
The deed must be recorded at the county recorder's office. Each county sets its own recording requirements. Although an "Affidavit of Property Value" is required for most real estate transfers, you can qualify for an exemption if money isn't being exchanged. At the time of filling, you'll need to pay the recording fees as well. The majority of Arizona counties charge about $15 to record the deed.