Litigation often causes parties to be tempted to speak with one another, perhaps under the belief that the lawyers are causing all of the conflicts and that direct communication will solve the issues.
As to whether parties should communicate with each other during partition actions, while there is no rule prohibiting communication between co-owners during a partition action, there are some compelling reasons you may want to limit such communication.
Risks of Communicating Directly With Your Co-owner During a Partition
Communicating directly with your co-owner regarding the partition process when you have an experienced partition attorney representing you can give your co-owner the wrong impression, which may end up giving them leverage in the case.
Specifically, communicating with your co-owner during litigation can give the appearance that you don’t really have an attorney, or that you don’t want to pay your attorney to act as your representative. In other words, you might be giving your co-owner the hint that you are sick of paying your attorney, and that you’re ready to fire them so you can do it yourself. Your co-owner will probably be excited that you are choosing to do so as it will enable them to win the partition.
Even more importantly, it gives the impression that you aren’t or won’t listen to your attorney’s advice regarding the partition matter and that you’re getting sick of being charged for having an attorney, which can give your co-owner leverage in the case and get in the way of settlement. Indeed, perhaps the opposing party is wondering “Did their attorney not agree with this opinion? Is that why the attorney won’t communicate it themselves?”
It is important to communicate with your partition attorney and trust that the right attorney will have a winning strategy for your partition matter so that you don’t have to try to navigate this process with your co-owner alone.
Exception: Reasons Outside the Partition that May Cause You to Need to Communicate with the Opposing Party
Sometimes, there are reasons you need to communicate with your co-owner during the partition process that are unrelated to the partition.
For example, some co-owners share custody of a child. If that child is sick, or the parties need to communicate about a custody exchange, they should feel free to speak with their co-owner. However, they should limit that communication to the topic of the children, not the co-owned house.
Another example may be that your co-owner is still your roommate. You may need to communicate about sharing the utilities, or taking out the trash. However, do not communicate about the goals in the partition action.
Attorneys are Involved Because There is a Genuine Dispute
The fundamental temptation of co-owners who want to communicate with the opposing party during a partition is the belief that the lawyers are dragging the dispute along for their own benefit. While this may be true in some instances, our partition attorneys seek out only the most concrete and financially justified disputes. Perhaps one party is seeking six-figure offsets that the opposing party does not believe should be awarded. Or, perhaps one party is claiming to be a 75% owner based on an ambiguous deed. More commonly, the defendant simply hasn’t moved on from the property and can’t afford a buyout of the plaintiff. These genuine disputes often require a court to rule such that the parties can move on. This is especially true when your co-owner is being unreasonable, or is receiving bad legal advice. While courts move at an unusually slow pace, patience can be vital to obtain the optimal outcome in a partition action.
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 six, full time partition lawyers, Talkov Law is the #1 partition law firm in California and has handled 250 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!