What is Partition in Real Estate?
A partition action is a lawsuit that forces the sale or division of jointly owned real property. The court will equitably divide the interests of all the co-owners even if one or more co-owners does not agree to the sale or division. This division generally involves division of the proceeds of sale.
Partition actions can be filed for any co-owned real property, with the most common real estate in a partition actions in California involving single family homes. They can also include multi-family homes like duplexes or triplexes, commercial partitions, and vacant land. In California, the right to partition is absolute, meaning that any co-owner may commence a partition action without the consent of his or her co-owners. A partition action will definitively end co-ownership disputes between co-owners who cannot decide what to do with a shared property.
Steps in a Partition Action in California
The first step in the partition action process is to file a complaint for partition of real property in the county in which the property is located. A lis pendens, also known as a notice of pendency of action, will then be recorded against the property. The lis pendens will remain on the property until the partition has been resolved or the complaint is withdrawn. The partition action will then come before the court where a judge will make a determination of the partition request. Assuming the request is upheld, the court will appoint a partition referee to oversee the sale or division of the property and distribute proceeds equitably. The court may also decide to hold the proceeds of sale until an accounting to determine offsets, costs, and fees has been performed.
Who Can File a Partition Action?
A partition action can be filed by any owner of a co-owned property (aside from married couples who own the property as community property). California Code of Civil Procedure 872.210. Importantly, being a majority owner is not a requirement in order to initiate a partition action. Partition actions are most commonly between siblings who have inherited property from their parents or other family members, couples who were never married and are no longer romantically involved, friends or family members who purchased property together, and previously-married couples post-divorce judgment.
Cost of a Partition Action in California
The average partition action costs between $8,000 and $15,000. Of course, the cost of a partition action may be much higher or lower depending on the complexity of the case and the belligerence of the opposing co-owners. Attorney’s fees may also be recoverable against an uncooperative co-owner. Working with a trusted attorney who understands partition law can help keep costs low while ensuring you will receive the best possible result.
Contact a Partition Lawyer Today
Filing a partition action requires skill and knowledge about California partition law. Filing a partition yourself or hiring the wrong attorney may result in costly, unnecessary filings, subpar results, and prolonged timelines. Talkov Law offers a free, 15-minute consultation with a knowledgeable partition attorney for property owners looking to end their co-ownership dispute. Call (844) 4-TALKOV (825568) or contact us online to find out how you can force the sale of the home and pay no legal fees until your case is completed.