Navigating Property Disputes Among Family

It’s not uncommon to see family members—often siblings—inherit a piece of property or parcel of land from a parent or grandparent. In these situations of joint ownership, disputes over what to do with the real estate often arise.

Many times these disputes can be settled respectfully without leading to any significant problems. There are plenty of instances, however, where the co-owners cannot reach an agreement. To address these stalemates, the law offers a solution called Partition. A partition action typically results in the property being divided into individual shares among the owners, allowing each member to move forward independently.

There are two main types of partition. The first is Partition in Kind, also known as an actual partition or division. This means that the property is physically divided into shares among the owners, and each owner takes a share to do with it as he sees fit.

The second type of partition is a Partition by Sale, or a Sale for Division. This occurs when the entire property is sold and the proceeds are divided among the owners. This technique is best used when the owners cannot agree on a division or if the tract of property is so unique that it cannot adequately be divided.

Ideally, a partition can be arranged voluntarily if all the owners agree. If joint owners or heirs are unable to agree, then a judge will order a partition of the property at the request of any party holding an interest in the real estate. The process of filing and maintaining such a partition suit can be expensive and time consuming. It should be avoided if at all possible.

Often, mediation with the counsel of a skilled real estate lawyer is the best option to ensure the partition is handled fairly and respectfully in the most cost efficient manner.

If you jointly own real estate and are unable to reach an adequate settlement with other joint owners , call the lawyers at Stanko, Senter & Mitchell today.