I have comprehensive access to the Westlaw® proprietary legal research system -- one of the two largest legal research databases in the world. I have conducted a search of Pennsylvania appellate
case law, and I'm actually quite surprised to find that there is no appellate
case that discusses a quitclaim deed with respect to validity during a divorce. There may, of course, be many family court cases where judges have made determinations of the validity of a quitclaim in divorce -- just no specific appellate court cases.
However, there is a precedent case that you can use, because it covers all
potential postmarital transfers and agreements concerning property, regardless of how the transfer is made.
In Laudig v. Laudig, 425 Pa. Superior Ct. 228, 624 A. 2d 651 (PA Super. 4/28/1993)
, the PA Superior Court determined the factors which validate "postnuptial" transfers of property between spouses, and held that: The paramount goal of contract
interpretation is to "ascertain and give effect to the parties' intent." Lyons v. Lyons, supra 401 Pa.Super. at 277, 585 A.2d at 45
. To accomplish this goal, "each and every part of [the contract] must be taken into consideration and given effect, if possible, and the intention of the parties must be ascertained from the entire instrument." In order to ascertain the intention of the parties, "the court may take into consideration the surrounding circumstances, the situation of the parties, the objects they apparently have in view, and the nature of the subject-matter of the agreement." The court will adopt an interpretation that is most reasonable and probable bearing in mind the objects which the parties intended to accomplish through the agreement. Wrenfield Homeowners Ass'n, Inc. v. DeYoung, 410 Pa.Super. 621, 627, 600 A.2d 960, 963 (1991)
(quoted and cited cases omitted).
In plain English, if you can show that the intent of the quitclaim at the time it was made was to effect some agreed-upon purpose, then the court must sustain the property transfer, and rule that your interest is separate, and not marital property
, subject to equitable dissolution.
So, there you have it. Please let me know if my answer is helpful, or if I can provide you with further clarification or assistance.
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