What is a partition?
California’s Partition Law is a set of statutes in California’s Civil Procedure Code that allows any co-owner of real property to have the property sold, or to have the property divided into equally valuable parts. Partition is powerful, because any co-owner has these rights, even if the other co-owners don’t want to sell, or don’t want to divide the property. If the real property being partitioned is the site of a business also owned by the owners of the real property, then the business also will be sold or divided.
Is partition only available to majority owners?
No. The right to seek partition may be used by any person with an ownership interest in the real property at issue, even if that ownership interest is very small. Often the remaining owners’ response to the filing of the partition action is to commence negotiations with the owner of the minor interest and an offer to buy out the interest of the owner seeking partition.
How is the use of partition law limited?
Only two significant limitations on the use of the partition law can cause the sale or division of co-owned real property:
- Partition may not be used to sell or divide marital property in place of the property division that normally occurs during a divorce action brought under the California Family Code.
- The right to partition may be waived by the co-owners of real property. The waiver can be expressly stated in a written agreement among the co-owners. The waiver may also be implied by the court in some cases, such as when one co-owner has a contractual right to live at the jointly owned real property for an agreed number of years.
For more information about partition actions, contact John R. Yates.