Two or more people can own a property together. However, it’s possible that co-owners won’t agree with what to do with the property. In these cases, a partition action can be used to divide the property into separate shares. This can be done on a voluntary basis if all owners agree to it. If not, a judge can order the partition.
Types of partition actions.
There are two main types of legal partitions: partition in kind and partition by sale.
Partition in kind is also known as an actual partition. This is the most common type of partition. It is best used for situations where the parties are still on good terms but disagree on the best way to use the property. Through a partition in kind, each person will end up owning a divided portion of the property. After the partition is decided, each person records their division with the county clerk.
A partition by sale is also known as partition by licitation or succession. This form of partition is completed by selling the entire property and then dividing the proceeds between the owners. A partition by sale is best used when the parties cannot agree. Once the property sells, each co-owner can take their money and purchase new, separate properties.
Voluntary vs. Judicial partition
Voluntary partitions are the most common forms of partition. In a voluntary partition, co-owners willingly agree to partition their ownership rights. However, if all owners don’t agree to the partition, an owner can file a lawsuit asking courts to require a partition. The court will decide whether to issue a partition based on factors such as titles, rights, and interests of each party.
Before bringing your case to court, consider mediation first to work out the disagreement. A neutral third-party, or a mediator, may be able to reach a compromise without having to avoid a judge. Mediation is good for those who want to remain on good terms with their co-owner. Additionally, mediation is cheaper and takes less time than going to court would.