What is Partition and When is it Used?
There are many kinds of legal situations, where real property, like homes, need to be divided up. When properties have multiple owners, and they both have a claim to the value of the property, and one wants to “cash out” and get the value of his or her equity in the property, there often is no real other way to divide the property up, than to sell it.
When is Partition Used?
When somebody asks a court to sell a property against the other party’s wishes, and divide the proceeds from the sale between the parties, it is called a partition action. Partition actions are common:
- When business partners own property as an investment, but they cannot agree on how to move forward with the partnership, and one or both wants to “cash out,” and sell the property and divide the profits
- In probate actions, when real estate is left to multiple beneficiaries, and some want to keep the property, but others do not—they want to just sell the property and take the profits from the sale
- In divorce actions, when the home is marital property, and one of the spouses wants to just sell the home and get access to the equity in the property
Issues in a Partition Case
In almost every partition action, there are really two things for the court to decide: whether or not the property should be partitioned at all, and if so, what the division of the proceeds may be.
In some cases, one of those two may be in dispute; for example, the parties may agree that the property needs to be sold, but disagree on who gets what from the proceeds of the sale. Alternatively, the parties may have no dispute over who gets what from the sale—they just disagree whether the home needs to be sold in the first place.
What if the Parties Don’t Agree?
In most cases, so long as there is some legal basis, the court will agree to sell the property. But if one party does want to keep the property, and the other doesn’t, there are some options.
The party that wants to keep the property can offer to keep the property and then pay the other party his or her share of the proceeds. That may entail the party keeping the property, to get some sort of financing to pay the buyout to the other side.
If a full and immediate buyout isn’t possible, some type of payment plan may need to be arranged.
The party receiving the payout gets his or her money, and the other side gets to keep the property and then do what he or she wants to do with it (including possibly sell it later on).
Question about partition, real estate, or disputes over real estate? Call the West Palm Beach real estate lawyers at The Law Offices of Larry E. Bray today with your questions about business law or closing on real estate.