In the state of New Jersey, when co-owners of a property can’t agree on what to do with it, a partition action may be the best solution. This allows the property to be fairly divided into separate parts (or sold, especially if it is a singular piece of real estate, with the proceeds equitably divided). Partition actions aren’t common but are typically complex, which is why whether you are filing a partition action or are on the receiving end of one, it’s important to understand exactly what they do.
At The Law Offices of Patel & Cardenas, we frequently represent clients in both partition actions and partition litigation (lawsuits). We are experienced and familiar with how partitions work, and we can help you achieve the best results while protecting your rights and monetary investment! Read the blog to learn more about this legal step and contact us to schedule a free consultation if you need legal assistance.
What Is A Partition Action?
A partition action is a legal motion that can be filed when two or more co-owners of a property disagree on what the future of the property should be like.
Say one party wants to move and sell, but the other party doesn’t want to leave; if they just cannot come to an agreement, the party who wants to sell can file a partition action, and the property will either be divided or sold. Or if one party wants to use the land for x purpose, and the other party wants to use the land for y purpose, a partition action can divide the property so that both parties can use the land for their own desired purposes, or allow one party to buy the other side out, or sell the property on the open market and split the profits between the parties.
Watch this short video where Veer Patel, one of our lead partition action attorneys, breaks this legal undertaking down into simple terms.
If you are considering a partition action, or someone has filed an action on a property you co-own, there are a few things you need to know about the process.
5 Things You Should Know About Partition Actions
- There Are Different Methods Of Partition.
As hinted at in the above examples, there are different types of partition actions.
The most common is partition by appraisal, where one party (or multiple parties) purchases the interest of another owner (or multiple owners) at a value set by a court-ordered appraisal. This is most frequently used when the parties can work together to agree and the interests of the parties in the property are not disputed.
Another common form is partition by sale. Even if one party is unwilling to sell, the co-owner has the right to partition their interests in the property and force a sale. A court will approve the partition action and provide guidelines for an equitable sale of the property.
Least common, but that still occurs, is “partition in kind”, or partition by physical division. If the property can be physically split into proportional values – for example, if it’s a piece of rural real estate or undeveloped land – then the land can be divided and each party can do what they want with it. If the division will result in one party getting materially less than they would compared to the share of money they would get if the whole land is sold, partition by sale is much more likely to occur. Zoning ordinances and etc. can complicate this type of partition action.
- Most Of The Time, Partition Actions Are Successful.
Partition actions can’t be “stopped” in the vast majority of cases, unless the person who brought the action has no standing, had a contract in place barring partition, or had previously waived their right to partition. Even if you don’t want to sell, you may be forced to under law. This is good news for bringers of partition actions and not-so-good news for defenders, but there are some legal defenses that can slow down a forced sale or give you a greater advantage.
- The Vast Majority Of Cases Settle….
Overwhelmingly, partition actions can be handled without having to go to trial and without much fuss; rather than a judge having to make the final judgment, the parties involved work with their attorneys to reach a mutually beneficial solution. This can save tremendous amounts of time and money. In litigation, there is tons of money spent on court fees and attorney fees that could otherwise remain in your own pocket. That’s why we always recommend mediation as the first step, if possible, because it is much easier on all parties involved and generally results in a better outcome!
- But They Can Get Messy.
If the parties are bitter or litigious, partition actions can get complicated and contentious very quickly. If one owner files a dispute against the partition action, or someone starts filing motions related or unrelated to the partition, or someone begins demanding rights which aren’t provided to them under the law, or multiple parties come forward to make claims on the property, or someone isn’t represented by an attorney and tries to tie up the case based on their own research, the case can drag on and on and become extremely expensive. Any type of litigation, even if it is relatively straightforward, can be frustrating, emotionally taxing, and time-consuming.
- So You Need A Good Real Estate Litigation Attorney!
Every partition action is unique, and because real estate is so expensive right now, you need to work with a New Jersey real estate or probate or litigation attorney who will take the time to get to know your case, understand your specific concerns, explain your rights and options, and advocate tirelessly for you. While partition actions can be taken by completing forms, if you attempt to take a DIY approach or represent yourself, you could make simple mistakes that can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in a claim. New Jersey laws are complex. Don’t risk it! Having an attorney on your side increases your chances of success.
Call The Law Offices Of Patel & Cardenas To Learn More.
Our experienced New Jersey partition lawyers represent clients in all phases of partition actions in court. We have ample knowledge of real estate law, probate law, estate planning law, and litigation; we are comfortable in a courtroom and with the necessary documentation, and we can help you work for the best possible outcome. To date, we’ve served over 1,300 satisfied clients. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your next steps!