House Was Purchased During Marriage, But I am not on title!
In California, all assets acquired during the marriage are presumably community property. But if you’re not on title, your spouse COULD potentially sell it and abscond with the money.
What to do?
If you are not on title, consider filing and recording a Lis Pendens.
Notice of Lis Pendens
A notice of lis pendens can be used to prevent a spouse from selling property during a divorce where the house in the name of one spouse but community property.
The notice of lis pendens, attached to a public record, alerts others of unsettled claims in litigation. This notice places a cloud on the property and discourages prospective buyers.
“Lis Pendens” is Latin for “pending litigation”, eg your divorce. It alerts potential buyers that someone has a claim to this property.
Lis Pendens Procedure
The procedure for recording Lis Pendens is found in California CCP 405 et seq. California law has certain filing, service and recording requirements.
First, the lis pendens must be served by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to all parties who may have an adverse interest in the property. The parties served should include all record owners of the property in addition to any lien or mortgage holders.
Second, the lis pendens may be recorded at the county recorder’s office for the county in which the property is located.
Finally, the lis pendens should be filed with the court in which the lawsuit, petition or other court action is pending.
A failure to properly record, serve and file a lis pendens may render the lis pendens “void and invalid”. Code of Civil Procedure §405.23.
Lis pendens formalities are technical and complicated. Hire an attorney to help you!