Using Partition Actions To Equitably Divide Property

Residential properties and parcels of land often have more than one owner. When owners decide they no longer wish to live together or jointly own the property, they must decide how to divide it. When the parties cannot reach an amicable decision, the attorney and legal team at Vanessa Carpenter Lourie, P.C., can guide owners through a partition action.

Experienced Guidance When Compromise Is Not Possible

A partition action lawsuit occurs when joint owners cannot agree on a property’s future. A partition lawsuit can also occur when a single property owner passes away and their heirs cannot agree on what to do with it. Another common occurrence is when a couple jointly own property and then separate, necessitating a partition action.

Forced Sales Or Physical Division

To resolve the matter, any of the property owners can file a partition action in the appropriate local court. A court reviews the lawsuit and determines how to fairly divide the property or ownership.

Partition actions tend to fall into one of two categories: partition in kind and partition by sale. In a partition in kind, the court attempts to physically divide the property. These instances are less common as a physical division is often impractical. In a partition by sale, the court orders the sale of the property with the proceeds split according to each owner’s proportion of ownership or the tenancy type.

Tenancy types determine how to divide proceeds and vary by state. In Maryland and Washington, D.C., the three main types are:

  • Tenancy in common: Tenants in common are two or more persons who have different ownership interests in the property. Proceeds from a sale are partitioned by the percentage of ownership.
  • Joint tenancy: Joint tenants obtain equal shares of the property at the same time with the same deed. Each party receives an equal portion of the proceeds.
  • Tenancy by entirety: A form of joint tenancy that only applies to married couples and is used to partition land during divorce proceedings.

Let Us Represent Your Best Interests

Avoiding adverse consequences of a partition lawsuit while recognizing the rights of a co-tenant to sell can be a difficult balance. In some cases, proper estate planning can help ensure a smooth transition of ownership.

Learn more about how a partition lawsuit could help you during a case evaluation with a skilled real estate lawyer. To schedule yours, call our Georgetown office at 202-342-8000 or contact our firm via email.

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