Monday, February 23, 2009

An Unmarried Woman

Is this just in the South?  I've been looking through the documents pertaining to our house.  My parents bought it, but my name is on the deed.  But guess what phrase is also on the deed:

A corporation...in hand paid by the grantees herein, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, the same grantor does by these presents, grant, bargain, sell and convey unto... Sharon Elizabeth Nichols, an unmarried woman,...

Is that relevant at all?  Do they do that in other states?

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bought a house in Mississippi, which is pretty similar to Alabama in all things southern, but they didn't put that phrase on my legal documents. All I have to say is thank god - as if being single, a woman and over 22 in the South is bad enough, you don't need it proclaimed on your house deed.

Anonymous said...

I thought your middle name was Eliza?

Anonymous said...

She changed it after living in Greece. I changed my to Mahatma after eating at Royal Indian Buffet.

Sharon said...

Pretty much. I shortened it after living in Greece. It's what my dad calls me anyway.

Anonymous said...

Nice callout, douchebag. If you're going to snipe at people on the internet, fail less.

Anonymous said...

horrible time in this economy to be selling your house

Alfred Brophy said...

Strange, but I suspect it's to put in the chain of title that you don't have a spouse who might have a marital interest in the property. Future buyers will not have to worry about whether there's a spouse out there who needed to sign away his dower right. That's my guess anyway. The question is whether deeds ever saw "Joe Smith, a single man."

Anonymous said...

I have a dead which lists my name as "Joan Q. Public, a married woman". I was told that if I sell the property it would help keep the title clear by reminding me to have my husband also sign when I sell it. Alabama is a community property state after all.

Anonymous said...

Could be worse. In D.C. you would have been listed as a "spinster," at least as of a few years ago.

Pav said...

I'm just surprised they let women own property. Crazy modern world we live in.

James said...

Marital status of the grantor has to be on all deeds to be recorded in Alabama. 35-4-73(a). The same rule does not pertain to the grantee in AL. Why? That is undoubtably because of the conveyance of marital homestead requirement of Al Code 6-10-3, which requires that a married person cannot convey his homestead without the spouse's consent. In essence, a recitation of one's status as "single" satisfies the buyer that there are no homestead claims on the property. A recitation of "married" raises the prospect that a spousal signature is needed. Sometimes, when the married person conveys without the spouse's signature, there is a warranty in the deed that the property "does not constitute the homestead of grantor."

Anonymous said...

James,

Is that the kind of talk laywers go absolutely gay for?

Anonymous said...

To answer the original question, it's not just in the South where this practice occurs.

Property deeds say the same thing in California: "an unmarried man" or "an unmarried woman."

Anonymous said...

SEN who cares about the market - sell the house and you can move in with me!

Anonymous said...

First, to correct an earlier mis-apprehension, Alabama is not a community property state. Most of the southern states adhere to the more traditional forms of devise and intestacy. As is frequently the case, Louisiana and Florida are exceptions.

Second, as stated earlier by "James," this particular misogynistic legalism is a result of the period in which Alabama homestead laws were passed. The language does make assuring good title less cumbersome. I think most deeds would go gender neutral and use "person" today, unless the drafter relies more on form than effectiveness of language.
Property law remains one of the more formulaic areas of law in Alabama. For elaboration, ask Bill Brewbaker about the "bundle of sticks" and necessary language in Alabama conveyance documentation.

Anonymous said...

are you seriously unable to understand the reason for marital status in a deed? it's no different for a man; marital status affects the cleanliness of title.

get a clue. what a mundane post. seems law school's done you well.

Anonymous said...

this makes me laugh . . . you are a lot more simple-minded than you presume yourself. to be grammatically proper is all well and good, but not until the speaker adds a min. degree of substance to the statement. what is it they say about lipstick and pigs? whatever it is, it rings true here.

as for anonymous posts, not everyone cares to create an identity. take issue w/ the substance of the comment if anything at all.

20somethingAtty said...

Sometimes taking a few minutes out of blogging to pay attention in Trusts & Estates or Real Property pays off.

There are several reasons to declare the marital status of a woman. As James correctly pointed out, homestead issues (or, as the case may be in Michigan, the unmarried woman's property rights laws) are resolved. Additionally, women marrying generally take their husbands' names, so by declaring "unmarried" you are establishing a last name for a woman under which a Grantor index search might prove successful. This is also a clear way to identify that there are no other interest-holders (ie: tenants in common, husband & wife, etc.), and instead states clearly that a singular person owns the fee outright.

Keep up with the studying; our current practice is founded on lots of historical, pragmatic, applications.

Love My Junk said...

9:02, if you're going to talk about mundane posts, you could refrain from using them yourself, at least.

Anonymous said...

9:02 I supposed you knew EVERYTHING when you were half-way through law school.

James said...

20something Attorney raises a good rationale for reciting the marital status of the grantee. As someone who regularly researches title, the more that is divulged about a party to a deed, the easier the title can be perfected. For example, my law partner prepared a deed reciting four "a/k/a's" for a thrice married grantor the other day. Title researchers appreciate that kind of thing. As for the "misogynistic" requirement of sposual consent to a conveyance of homestead, I think it is a terrific rule that one spouse cannot sell the homestead out from under the other, unilaterally.

Anonymous said...

dear love my junk,

what i wrote was a comment on a post rather than a post in itself; as such, it doesn't purpose to be dynamic. and did i 'use' a mundane post? what did i do with it after i 'used' it? can anyone else 'use' it?

you're an idiot.

as to the other commenter, you realize that you're saying no one may be criticized for failing to understand anything at any point in law school, ever.

you're also an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Dear 5:51,

First, most things on the internet don't, or shouldn't propose to be dynamic. By commenting on a post, you post in a thread of comments. Hence, what you said is a post on this thread of comments. By posting your garbage, on said thread of comments, you used the tool of a mundane post or mundane comment. Its usually best to avoid the characteristic that you're criticizing during your criticism. For example, calling someone stupid for an inability to spell doesn't make much sense if you misspell the word spell. Also, you fail to recognize that words in fact may have more than one use. See how I used use there? It still works, especially with words such as use, which have a bevy of usages. In conclusion, you should at least try not to be such a petty douchebag, but you'd likely fail at that too.

Anonymous said...

Interesting.

23 comments in all -- now, 24 -- and only 3 of them actually answer the questions in SEN's post. You law students apparently have a tough time actually answering the question presented. Bar exam epic fail.

To summarize the 3 commenters who actually answered the question(s), Mississippi and California also engage in the same practice to which Alabama engages. And Washington DC also does something similarly odd.

I'll try to stay on point and confirm that California does indeed engage in the same practice of describing an individual real property owner as an "unmarried man" or "unmarried woman." So this practice is not unique to the South.

James said...

Ahem, SEN also asked "Is [putting marital status on a deed] relevant at all?" That was the question my post(s) attempted to answer... I also think that explaining the reason behind the practice may go to refute the implicit assumption of the other two questions: that it is just a quaint, Southernism like saying "yes ma'am."

Anonymous said...

I've heard that in a real property deed in California "unmarried woman" means a divorcee, while "single woman" means a spinster. Does that make any sense to anyone?