People become joint owners of real estate in many ways. Arguably the most common means involve deciding to buy a property together, either as a residence or an investment, and inheriting the property jointly from a deceased loved one. In either scenario, both you and the other owners of the property have the right to use the property, and you will have to agree before taking any major steps with it.
Sometimes, what you really want is to sell the property so that you can take the money tied up in that real property and use it for something else. What initially seems simple can quickly become a complicated issue if your co-owner does not want to give up ownership of the property. In that situation, you may need to file a partition lawsuit.
What happens in a partition lawsuit involving joint ownership of one piece of real estate?
The court can sever the joint ownership in several different ways
Technically, a partition lawsuit seeks to separate out your ownership interests in the property. How a judge accomplishes this varies depending on the circumstances.
Sometimes, people can request a partition in kind. This is usually only an option if there are multiple separate units or the property is unimproved acreage. A judge can divide the existing property into multiple parcels so that each joint owner owns a smaller individual parcel.
Other times, the courts may order partition by allotment. In this situation, one of the co-owners has the opportunity to buy out the others at a fair market value for the property. Finally, people can also seek partition by sale. This would probably be your preferred outcome in this situation, as it involves the judge ordering the sale of the property so that the joint owners can split the proceeds of the transaction.
Partition actions help when co-owners cannot resolve an issue on their own
You don’t want to remain indefinitely tied to a property financially, especially if you and your co-owners don’t agree about your long-term plans for the property.
Ideally, you and the co-owners of the property but find a solution that makes everyone happy, but sometimes that just won’t work. Filing a partition lawsuit may seem like a drastic measure, but it can hope those caught up in a dispute about a jointly-owned piece of real estate.