How Partition Actions Help Unmarried Couples Divide Real Estate After a Break-Up

Legal Article

How Partition Actions Help Unmarried Couples Divide Real Estate After a Break-Up

Here’s the issue. An unmarried straight or same-sex couple decides that they want to purchase a home together. Not only does the couple spend a lot of money on this purchase, but they also dedicate their nights and weekends to renovating the home. Though the house is seemingly a never-ending project, their relationship has ended.

While there are laws dictating what happens with real estate after the divorce of a married couple, the above situation outlines a common arrangement between unmarried persons, requiring that we look for a different remedy to compel the sale or division of assets. The most common remedy which has become increasingly useful is a “Partition Action.” When two or more unmarried people co-own real estate, the court will use a partition to sort out who ends up with what. As over 25% of millennials are now buying real estate with their partner before marriage, partition actions are becoming increasingly common.

Partition actions used to be fairly straightforward as the court would simply divide the land by the different interests each party had on the property. However, as partition actions are now increasingly used on a piece of property that has a single-family home, they are not as simple. There are two common outcomes when an unmarried couple petitions the court to use a partition action. The first is that one party will continue to live in the home after the break-up, though that party will have to buy out the other entity. The other common outcome is that the property is sold to a third party and then the proceeds are split depending on each individual’s interest in the property.

What the Court Considers in a Partition Action

When considering how to properly partition a property, the court must take into account factors such as how much money and time each party puts into a property. However, the courts can also consider income disparities between the parties, tax consequences of dividing the property a certain way, and other relevant details.

Partition actions can be the only legal remedy to divide property between an unmarried couple. However, these lawsuits can be just as long and drawn out as many divorce cases. There will be lists or spreadsheets itemizing every single monetary or time contribution each party makes to the property. Add in numerous court hearings and you are talking about hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars spent on the matter.

Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information

Finally, for more information on how partition actions help unmarried couples divide real estate, contact us at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Additionally, for general information regarding real estate law, check out our blog.