How Long Does a Partition Action Take?

How Long Does It Take to Partition a Property?

A partition action usually takes between six to nine months depending on the circumstances and the complexity of each case. The most significant factor is whether the partition is being handled by an attorney who practices only in partition law. Other factors include whether court involvement is required, the length of time the property is on the market, the experience of your partition attorney, and the level of complexity in the case, all of which can impact the length of time required to win a partition action.

Partition Timeline When the Case Settles Quickly

Usually, the partition lawyer will draft a complaint, file the complaint with the court, then have the partition complaint, summons, and a cover letter personally served on the defendant co-owner.

Most of the time, the defendant co-owner realizes the gimmick is up. Perhaps they’ve been living rent free for years, or not paying the mortgage, since their co-owner has let the conflict linger. Many times, the defendant (often the co-owner in possession) is just trying to see if their co-owner is willing to call their bluff through a partition action. Once they see that their co-owner is serious, they may negotiate a few deal points, but will eventually agree to sell or refinance the property.

The usual time involved in these less complex cases from hiring the partition attorney to the sale of the property is about 4 to 8 months, meaning the co-ownership dispute will add about 2 to 6 months to the time required to have the property sold.

If the property is simply refinanced in a co-owner buyout, the time involved from hiring the attorney to receiving a check for your interest in the property can be as little as 30 to 60 days.

Partition Timeline When the Defendant is Uncooperative

Sometimes, the defendant co-owner does not cooperate, but also does not litigate. In such circumstances, costs can be higher and the matter goes to a default because the co-owner does not respond when served with the summons and complaint. In those cases, the partition attorney would need to prepare paperwork appointing a referee to list and sell the property. This may include motions and trials relating to offsets claimed by one party against the interest of a co-owner.

The drafting of an interlocutory orders to appoint a referee and confirm the sale of the property, in addition to the hearings on such matters, brings the estimated timeline of the partition action to 6 to 12 months.

Partition Timeline When the Defendant Litigates

The majority of partitions actions in California will be over in less than 12 months for a moderate legal fee if an experienced partition attorney is involved. However, there are the outliers that produce appeals, trials, etc. Usually, these rare cases involve wealthy owners, expensive properties, and complex issues of offsets or valuation.

Remember that around 98% Talkov Law’s partition cases settle before trial, often long before trial. Of those that go to trial, many settle before a verdict is reached. The odds that you will be dragged into court through an expensive trial is low because most litigated partition cases are decided on motions wherein no party even goes to court. However, there are times where a partition complaint has been filed, but the defendant resists the partition efforts by raising affirmative defenses to partition actions. These complications would increase the timeline of a partition of real property action beyond the estimated range.

Talkov Law knows what matters in a partition action – and what doesn’t. We can save you time, money, and frustration by eliminating time-wasting portions of the process. Talkov Law has the proper templates to expedite the partition process and has established relationships with vendors such as recording services and partition referees, all saving you time and thousands of dollars.

Certain Timelines Are Required by Law

We work hard to ensure that there are not unnecessary delays in litigation. However, there are certain statutory time limits that cannot be avoided. For example, partition defendants have 30 days from service of complaint to file an answer to a partition action. [1]Code of Civil Procedure 412.20 This length of time cannot be shortened and an extension may even be granted. Keeping these timelines in mind can help establish realistic expectations of the length of time required for a partition action.

Of course, there are outliers in which a partition action may take several years, but chances are that the partition action will be over in a reasonable period of time. These cases usually involve overlapping litigation involving multiple cases, unique property that is large (perhaps hundreds of acres), commercial partitions, property that can be partitioned in-kind (divided among the co-owners), extraordinary issues with service of the defendant(s), etc.

Certain Courts are Backed Up, Thereby Delaying Partition Actions

Another impediment to expediting the partition action can be the court. Notably, a few courts in California have a backlog of cases and a lack of available judges to handle civil actions. Even as to the courts that lack a backlog, some have reservation systems with infrequent available dates for the types of motions that would bring about an end to a partition action. In these courts, obtaining a hearing on the entry of a partition judgment or other dispute in the case may take longer than courts with no such backlog.

Some Cases Take Even Less Time, While Others Take Longer

While this article provides an average range of time for a partition action, some cases are over even faster. Indeed, some of the shortest cases last only a few weeks or months. For every case that drags on longer than average, there is a corresponding case that was over faster than anyone could have expected.

The Sale of the Property as Would Normally Occur can Add Additional Time

Had the co-owners agreed to sell the property, they would have placed the property on the market, and it might take a few months for escrow to close. The same is true in a partition action. Once the parties reach an agreement or a referee is appointed, the property is generally sold or refinanced. That sale can add a few months, just as it would have had no partition action been filed because the parties agreed to sell. The speed at which a buyer will be located and escrow will close is largely outside the control of the partition attorney or even the partition referee.

Why do Other Attorneys Say that a Partition Will Take Longer?

Co-owners may be wondering why other law firms online and during consultations provide estimates that a partition may last much longer, perhaps around two years. The truth is that partitions, for attorneys who don’t know what they’re doing, often do take two years. The failed tactics used by these attorneys include propounding discovery of little value, preparing for an avoidable trial, engaging in endless negotiations, and failing to understand the pressure points that bring about an end to a partition action. There’s no reason to pay an attorney to learn partition law when there are attorneys who already practice exclusively in partition actions.

By contrast, the attorneys at Talkov Law have tried and true tactics that bring about an end to the partition action. Since virtually all partition actions end with a sale to a third party on the open market or a co-owner, usually through a refinance secured by the property, Talkov Law works to ensure that co-owners can promptly move on from the co-ownership relationship.

An Experienced Partition Attorney Can Expedite the Process

The time needed to reach a resolution in a partition action depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of legal counsel because an inexperienced attorney can lengthen the partition process unnecessarily and cause headaches. The knowledgeable partition attorneys at Talkov Law can produce a better result for lower attorney’s fees because we avoid unnecessary litigation, have a breadth of knowledge regarding the partition process, and have experience handling more partition actions than any other law firm in California. Indeed, our hundreds of former partition clients have paid for the development of forms, complaints, motions, and otherwise that will move your case along faster, rather than paying an attorney to reinvent the wheel.

Talkov Law's Partition Attorneys Can Help

If you want to end your co-ownership relationship, but your co-owner won’t agree, a partition action is your only option. With seven, full time partition lawyers, Talkov Law is the #1 partition law firm in California and has handled over 300 partition actions throughout California. Every case has resulted in a sale to either a third party or one of the co-owners. Not a single court has denied our clients the right to partition or declared our client to be a non-owner. Plus, for qualified cases, there is no fee until we settle or win your case!

If you're looking to end your co-ownership dispute, contact California's premier partition action law firm by calling Talkov Law at (844) 4-TALKOV (825568) or sending us a message today.


1 Code of Civil Procedure 412.20
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The partition attorneys at Talkov Law end co-ownership disputes by representing co-owners in real estate partition actions throughout the State of California.

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