Protecting Rights In Partition Actions

Co-owners of property can have substantial differences of opinion about how the property should be maintained, used or whether it should be sold. Inheritance disputes can arise between heirs who disagree about possession, use or sale of the real estate.

Co-owners of real estate generally have the right to sever the co-ownership relationship at any time under California law. Some exceptions apply, including when a specific provision in a will prohibits a partition action or when the co-owners have expressly agreed to waive the right to sever ownership interests in a contract.

Understanding Partitions In Kind and Partitions By Sale

A partition action is an effective way to resolve property disputes between co-owners. There are two main kinds of partition remedies available through litigation, including:

  • Partition in kind: When disputes arise over how land should be used, one potential remedy is to sever the individual interests of the co-owners, distributing control of distinct portions of the land among the owners. Dividing a parcel of undeveloped land into distinct interests allows each owner to decide how the property will be used without the need to consult with the other owners. The courts generally divide the property equitably. For instance, if a 10-acre parcel is in dispute between two co-owners and part of the land is more valuable than the other, the partition will divide the land fairly — not necessarily in equal five-acre portions.
  • Partition by sale: Often, the real estate ownership interests in dispute involve developed commercial or residential property. Dividing the family home in an inheritance dispute may require a sale of the property. The court may order a partition by sale and distribute the proceeds to the owners accordingly. If one or more owners dispute a forced sale, the court may allow owners opposed to the sale to buy out any owners that wish to liquidate their interest.

A partition action can arise in a number of situations, such as:

  • Severing the co-ownership interests of friends, family members, couples or business partners who purchased real property together
  • Forcing the sale or resolving interfamily disputes regarding property inherited by two or more co-owners
  • Resolving real estate and property disputes in the dissolution of a partnership or in other business litigation

Settling a co-ownership dispute is generally the best solution to avoid the costs of litigation. However, many real estate disputes can be contentious. Business partners may have widely different goals in resolving the disagreement. Siblings with differences over how the property should be used can involve highly personal conflicts between family members. Our lawyers are highly experienced in resolving conflicts between family members efficiently without sacrificing the rights of our clients. We take an integrated approach to resolving inheritance, real estate and disputes between family members.

Speak With A Highly Skilled Partition Actions Attorney In San Francisco

To arrange a meeting to discuss your real estate or inheritance dispute, call Bryan • Hinshaw in San Francisco at 415-906-3085 or send us an email. We offer initial interviews and flexible payment plans. Our substantial experience prosecuting and defending against partition actions can be your advantage in protecting your rights. We represent clients throughout the Bay Area and along the San Francisco-Sacramento corridor.