Who Should Use a Partition Action

Legal Article

Who Should Use a Partition Action

Partition actions—whether they are necessitated from unmarried straight or same-sex couples or siblings who co-inherited real estate—can be extremely complex. Further, having to figure out which of the three types of partition actions you should use only further complicates the situation. The three different types of partition actions are: (1) partition by physical division; (2) partition by sale; and (3) partition by appraisal.

While there are laws dictating what happens with real estate after the divorce of a married couple, when a real estate dispute arises in arrangements between unmarried persons, we must look for a different remedy to compel the sale or division of assets. The most common remedy which has become increasingly useful in these changing times is a “Partition Suit.”

Consulting an attorney before deciding to use a partition action is vital to your success. However, understanding the general difference between the three types of partition actions will allow you to actively participate in your case, further increasing the chance that you will receive a favorable outcome.

Partition by Physical Division

A partition by physical division—also commonly known as a partition in kind—requires that a court divide the property in question by proportional value. This type of partition action is most common on rural properties or undeveloped land. However, courts will not usually use this remedy if either owner would receive a portion of the land that is worth substantially less if they would have sold this portion during the sale of the whole property. For example, if a ten-acre lot has a large pond on one side, the co-owner who receives this portion of the land may be able to sell it for much more than the other side of the property that just has a field.

Partition by Sale

A partition by sale allows the co-owner of a property to force the sale of land as a property owner has the absolute right to sell their stake in a property—even if the other co-owner does not want to sell the property. To use this remedy, the courts must find that the sale and division of the proceeds from the sale will be more equitable than a simple division of property. A partition by sale can take place with the help of an agreed-upon real estate agent, at public auction, or by private sale.

Partition by Appraisal

This specific partition action allows one or more of the co-owners to purchase the other co-owners stake in the property at a price that is assessed through a court-ordered appraisal. However, this partition action is only available if there are no disputes pertaining to the interests in the property and each party agrees to the sale.

Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information

Finally, for more information on what is a partition action, 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.