Real Estate Law
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The action to quiet title is a form of action which is designed to remove clouds on title, to adjudicate title disputes when ejectment will not lie and to secure summary possession of land. The underlying purpose of this action is to "unify into one simple procedure all of the diverse procedures by which clouds of title were formerly tried." An action to quiet title is not an action in equity but, rather, an action at law created by statute as a substitute for various statutory remedies formerly available to persons seeking to establish or to acquire or to clear title to lands or interests therein.
A quiet title action may be brought in the following circumstances:
(1) To compel an adverse party to commence an action of ejectment;
(2) When an action in ejectment will not lie, to determine a right, lien, title, or interest in the land or determine the validity or discharge of any document, obligation, or deed affecting any right, lien, title or interest in the land;
(3) To compel an adverse party to file, record, cancel, surrender or satisfy of record or admit the validity, invalidity or discharge of, any document, obligation or deed affecting any right, lien, title or interest in the land; or
(4) To obtain possession of the land sold at a judicial or tax sale.
The action to quiet title is separate and apart from the action of ejectment. A claimant not actually in possession of the property claimed may not bring a quiet title action to recover possession, but must bring an ejectment action.
Here is another typical form
Complaint To Determine Right, Lien, Title or Interest in Land
COMPLAINT IN CIVIL ACTION-QUIET TITLE
1. Plaintiff, _________, is an adult individual who resides at _________.
2. Defendant, _________, is an adult individual who resides at _________.
3. Plaintiff and _________ were married on _________, 19____. Their marriage ended in divorce on _________, 19____. As of the date of divorce, the parties' equitable distribution claims were pending.
4. _________ acquired title to real property known as _________ ("property"), in which plaintiff presently resides, through a deed dated _________, 19____ and recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds of _________ county in Deed Book _________, page ______, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit "A."
5. The property was marital property subject to equitable distribution, and was identified as marital property on the inventories filed by both plaintiff and _________.
6. By a settlement agreement ("agreement") which the parties executed on _________, 19____, _________ agreed to convey the property to plaintiff. The agreement, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit "B," disposed of all claims of either party for equitable distribution, alimony and counsel fees.
7. Pursuant to the agreement, _________ executed a deed conveying the property to plaintiff on _________, 19____ (the "deed"), which was recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds of _________ County, in Deed Book _________, page ______. A copy of the deed is attached as Exhibit "C."
8. On or about _________, 19____, plaintiff learned that _________ executed a deed conveying the property to the defendant on _________, 19____ ("_________, 19____ deed") prior to the conveyance to plaintiff.
9. Defendant knew or should have known at the time of conveyance that the property was marital property subject to plaintiff's equitable distribution claim.
10. The conveyance to defendant was fraudulent, because it was made without fair consideration and because it was made for the purpose of wrongfully depriving plaintiff of her interests in the property.
11. The conveyance to defendant could not operate to transfer the equitable interest that plaintiff previously acquired in the property through equitable distribution and the agreement with _________.
WHEREFORE, plaintiff requests that this Court (a) enter an order declaring that defendant, _________, is barred from asserting any right, lien, title, or interest in the property on the basis of the _________, 19____ deed; (b) enter a judgment ordering the recorder of deeds to cancel the _________, 19____ deeds; and (c) grant such further relief as may be just and equitable.
Attorney for Plaintiff
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