It starts out as a pretty good idea, “let's buy some real estate together.” You talk it out with your partner, your friend, your business partner, or your family. You could be buying for a variety of reasons, maybe it's to be an investment, or a home, or a gift, or an inheritance, or a business. However the conversation came about, you contacted your real estate agent or office supply store and filled out a deed and transferred title to both of your names jointly. Now you two are fighting and unable to share space, or one person is paying all of the costs, or one person is unhappy with the condition of the property. Whatever the reason, you now want to split. As a joint owner, you have an absolute right to force sale of the entire property. But maybe one person does not want to sell, or one person wants to keep the property and be bought out, or one person has already sold their share of the property.
What are the steps of a partition?
1. Contact a Lawyer. I cannot stress this enough, partition lawsuits are very complicated with lots of deadlines, rules, and legal caveats.
2. File a Complaint with the Court asking for an order for sale, and for reimbursement of your attorney fees, utilities paid, mortgage payments, rental income, and other types of claims for money you spent on the property.
3. File a Motion for an Interlocutory Order for sale of the property (an order issued before trial.)
4. Appoint a receiver (usually a real estate agent) to sell the property. In most lawsuits, there is no dispute about the percentage of title owned, most joint held properties are shared 50-50. The property can just be sold and the money deposited in an escrow account so that a trial can be held later.
5. Hold a trial on how to split up the proceeds of the sale. There are a complicated set of rules how the sale proceeds are to be divided. Whether you or your partner are living at the property or you have a tenant. Who pays the mortgage, taxes, maintenance, etc.
Again, I cannot stress this enough, partition lawsuits are very complicated with lots of deadlines, rules, and legal caveats. If you cannot come to an agreement with your co-owner, then it is time to contact a lawyer to force sale of the property.