Can I close on the sale of a house without my spouse being present at closing? A property that is intended to be used as a primary residence in Alabama is known as a homestead. If a property is deemed to be a homestead, then there is a statute that applies. The statute states: “no mortgage, deed or other conveyance of the homestead by a married person shall be valid without the voluntary signature and assent of the husband or wife, which must be shown by his or her examination before an officer authorized by law to take acknowledgements of deeds, and the certificate of such officer upon, or attached to, such mortgage, deed, or other conveyance.” Ala. Code § 6-10-3.
Therefore, under this statute you cannot close on the sale of a house without your wife’s signature or assent on the mortgage or deed. However, this statute only applies when the home that is being bought is going to be the primary residence of the spouses. Alabama is one of the states that requires a party to list their marital status on the conveyance of real property. Therefore, if you are married and are buying a home that you intend to be your primary residence with your spouse, you will need your spouse’s assent. If you do not have your spouse’s assent, then the conveyance will be void. If you plan on buying a house that will not be the primary residence of you and your spouse then you will need to specify that in the conveyance. In that case, your spouse will not need to be present at the closing.
In Alabama, spouses have an interest in the marital property even if they are not on the title, therefore they are required to execute the mortgage on the homestead property. The reason that the spouse’s consent is required is because in Alabama, a spouse automatically gains an undivided half interest in any property that is purchased during the marriage.
In conclusion, if you are buying a house in Alabama that you intend to be the primary residence of you and your spouse, then that property will be subject to the homestead exemption and you will need your spouse’s assent and signature on the conveyance. In that case, the spouse must be present at the real estate closing. However, if you are buying property that will not be the primary residence of you and your spouse, you do not need your spouse’s consent and they are not required to be present at the real estate closing.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!