Partition Actions – Forcing Sale of Jointly Owned Property

Partition Actions Attorneys

When a business or personal relationship sours between parties who own property together, separating from each other can be problematic when connected through real estate. Often, the best option is for one of the parties to negotiate a buyout of the other or for both party members to agree on selling the property and splitting the proceeds. Unfortunately, if one party refuses to sell or agree to a buyout, a stalemate that serves no one’s best interests can develop. In these cases, a partition action can force a sale.

A partition action refers to the legal process of dividing a property or an asset among its co-owners. Rather than abandon their stake in the property or asset, a co-owner can initiate a partition action to receive a court order to force the sale of property rather than allow it to remain divided.

Partition Actions Attorney settles property dispute

Co-owners dispute property division

How To Initiate a Partition Action

The member of the party who wants to initiate the partition action — the petitioner — hires an attorney to start the process. In most cases, a partition case will be resolved before proceeding to trial through a summary judgment motion or settlement.

In a partition action, a judge may elect to allow one party to buy out the other, order that the property be divided between the owners, or order the sale of the property at a public auction. With the likelihood of a property selling for less at a public auction than through a private sale, the party resisting the sale often agrees to list the property rather than allow it to be undervalued.

What are the Benefits of a Partition Action?

Forcing the sale of jointly owned property is never an ideal solution, but when two parties cannot find a workable solution on their own, a partition action can offer several benefits:

  • Resolution of ownership disputes. When owners of a property or asset cannot agree on an effective way to resolve their dispute, a partition action allows the court to step in and settle the matter so that both parties’ interests are preserved.
  • Facilitate a sale. When one co-owner wishes to sell their share of the property or asset but the other owners will not agree to buy them out, a partition action can force a sale and enable each owner to receive their fair share of the proceeds.
  • Divide the property fairly. An action can ensure that the property is divided fairly and equitably, considering each owner’s contribution and interest.
  • Offer a legal solution. A partition action provides a legal solution for co-owners deadlocked and unable to resolve their dispute, offering them a way to protect their interests and property rights.

Client works with attorney to settle property division

It’s important to understand that partition actions are complex legal proceedings with significant risks and costs. Before you decide to initiate or defend against a partition action, consult with our team at MHPS. We can provide the guidance you need to understand the potential risks and benefits offered by this legal remedy and whether it best meets the needs of your current situation.

Partition action legal document

How To Initiate a Partition Action

A partition action can play a role in determining probate estates when the deceased individual owned a property as tenant-in-common with other co-owners. Under tenancy-in-common arrangements, a co-ownership exists in which each owner has a separate, undivided share of the property. This provides each owner with the right to use the entire property, not just what they own, and each owner’s share can be sold, transferred, or inherited independently of the other owners.

For example, three siblings inherit a vacation home from their parents, each owning an equal share of the property as tenants-in-common. If one of the siblings passed away, their share of the property would become part of their probate estate. The estate administrator must work with the surviving siblings to distribute the remaining share to the deceased sibling’s beneficiaries.

Partition actions involving probate estates are complex as they involve multiple parties, often with conflicting interests. It’s advisable to consult with an attorney to help you navigate any potential risks involved in the process while ensuring your interests remain protected.

Our Team of Nashville Probate Lawyers Will Help to Protect Your Interests

At MHPS, we protect your interests in partition sales to ensure you receive fair market value of your ownership interests or have the option to purchase the property outright from the other co-owners. Our probate lawyers can even petition the court to delay the sale of your family property to allow more time to raise the financing required to buy out the other co-owners.

Whether you want to sell your interest in a property or buy out a co-owner, MHPS is the advocate you need in your corner.