Personality Types of Co-owners in Partition Actions

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While partition attorneys often focus on legal strategies, litigation also involves conflicts and dysfunction between personalities. With about 98% of partition actions that we handle settling before trial, these personality types often demand careful attention to ensure an optimal and expedient resolution. As shown below, certain dysfunctional personality traits require additional attention by parties to a partition action and their attorneys.

Rational – While the unusual personality types are more interesting to discuss, most co-owners exhibit a rational personality type when assisted by a real estate partition attorney. The rational types take the advice of their counsel not to move faster or slower than is needed to achieve the goals of the case. They also carefully review the wisdom of engaging in fights over offsets resulting from unequal payments relating the property.

Pushover – While some parties are too aggressive, the pushover co-owner is too hesitant to make decisions and is often persuaded by the hope that their co-owner is not taking advantage of them. However, with proper advice, the pushover can eventually see that they are in a lopsided relationship that will never end unless there is a forced sale of the property.

Endless Negotiator – Declaring that anyone who asks the court to resolve the dispute is acting in bad faith, the endless negotiator tries to advance the myth that their refusal to sell the property on the open market means that the remaining co-owners are required to sell their fractional interest to only the endless negotiator. Oftentimes, these parties will produce specious appraisals to convince their co-owners to sell for less than the market value. Others will try to insist that their co-owners agree on a buyout to nonsensical offsets that would never be awarded by a court. While some co-owners come to agreed terms to end the relationship within a matter of weeks or a few months, the endless negotiators never declare the settlement attempts to be over in a frantic attempt to avoid court oversight to the end of the co-ownership. Thankfully, there is no requirement under any partition statute in California that the parties agrees that the other acted in good faith. Rather, the court will order the sale of the property absent a buyout of the property.

Bitter Ex – With many couples deciding that building equity in California real estate makes more sense than marriage, some partitions can take the feeling of a divorce as the real property is the only asset to be divided at the end of the non-marital romantic relationship. Many times, the co-owner in possession is no longer able to afford the property with the existing mortgage let alone afford to buy out their former significant other. Moving out can be the final symbol that the relationship is over. The bitter ex may be overly emotional about the breakdown of a relationship that caused the co-ownership to end. They may be surprised to learn that disputes over true joint tenancy mean that the proceeds of sale can be split evenly.

Denier – Living in the past when the parties wanted to be co-owners, the denier is often unable to comprehend why their co-owner has moved on from the co-ownership relationship. Due to their inability to move on from the denial, they often have no rational position in the litigation such as demanding something more than their ownership percentage of the proceeds of sale or even trying to contest the partition action. They may try to lobby to plaintiff into remembering the good old days or otherwise in an effort to call off or stall the partition. Luckily, the plaintiff is not required to justify or litigate their reasons for the partition to obtain a court ordered sale of the property.

Mooch – A grifter seeking more free stuff from their co-owner, who is often a pushover, the mooch may simply hold up possession to see if the plaintiff will continue the one-sided relationship by paying the mortgage, taxes, and insurance on a co-owned property they no longer possess. They have often become accustomed to a one-sided relationship allowing for free housing in high-priced California real estate. A mooch often feels entitled to the benefits of co-ownership without payment. Fortunately, courts will not force a co-owner to continue the lopsided relationship, but will instead force the sale of the property and can award offsets to recover uneven payments on co-owned property.

Hostage Taker – Knows there is nothing in it for them when the property is sold and is just holding possession of the property hostage to obtain the rental value of the property for as long as they can. Many file meritless answers to partition action complaints or other pleadings in response to the partition. Many of the hostage takers will tell the court they need more time to find an attorney or hire a limited scope attorney to make claims that a delay is appropriate. Sometimes, the hostage taker has judgments against their interest in the property or is otherwise subject to significant offsets that may leave them with little or nothing when the property is sold, giving them little incentive to cooperate. Luckily, partition law can grant the partition referee extraordinary powers to promptly change the locks to regain possession without the use a prolonged unlawful detainer.

Stubborn Offsetter – A detail-oriented type, the stubborn offsetter often maintains a detailed accounting of all expenses and income on the property, which can be a good quality. Unfortunately, the stubbornness can interfere with the the co-owner’s ability to understand the risk that the judge may not agree with every offset, the legal costs and delays involved in a partition accounting, and the pleasure they will derive from being done with litigation. Luckily, a skilled partition lawyer can explain to the stubborn offsetter or their attorney the wisdom of settlement.

Contact an Experienced Partition Attorney in California

If you want to end your co-ownership relationship, but your co-owner won’t agree, a partition action is your only option. Our experienced partition lawyers have years of experience ending co-ownership disputes and can help you unlock the equity in your property. For a free, 15-minute consultation with an experienced partition attorney at Talkov Law, call (844) 4-TALKOV (825568) or fill out a contact form online.

About Scott Talkov

Scott Talkov is a partition lawyer and civil litigation attorney in California. He founded Talkov Law Corp. after more than one decade of experience with one of the region's oldest law firms, where he served as one of the firm's partners. He has been featured on ABC 7, CNN, KCBS, and KCAL-9, and in the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Press-Enterpise, and in Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine. Scott has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star for 9 consecutive years. He can be reached about new matters at info@talkovlaw.com or (844) 4-TALKOV (825568). He can also be contacted directly at scott@talkovlaw.com.

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