Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Partition lawsuit/Tenents in Common

My girlfriend and I are splitting up. We own a house together and hold title as Tenents in common. She will not sell her half to me and won't allow me to buy her out.

Should I file a partition suit to sell the house,and if so how would I proceed?

Asked on 12/23/05, 1:48 pm

5 Answers from Attorneys

Larry Rothman Larry Rothman & Associates

Re: Partition lawsuit/Tenents in Common

Before you spend legal fees to institute a partition action, I believe a strong letter from an attorney should preceed such an action. Please contact our office if you want to discuss the fundamentals of a partition action and what a normal fee may be.

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Answered on 12/26/05, 7:40 am

Joel Selik

Re: Partition lawsuit/Tenents in Common

Yes a partition action is the route to take. You need to file a lawsuit for partition, obtain an appraiser, and file certain other documents and proceed to trial.


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Answered on 12/23/05, 1:53 pm
Carl Starrett Law Offices of Carl H. Starrett II

Re: Partition lawsuit/Tenents in Common

If the parties cannot reach a settlement in a partition lawsuit, the court can appoint an appraiser to determine the fair market value and then order the sale of the property. The proceeds would be divided after the sale.

You could sell you interest without her consent, but you might have trouble finding a buyer. You could also ask her to buy you out.

If you can't negotiate a settlement with, please call me for a consultation.

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Answered on 12/23/05, 1:56 pm
Roy Hoffman Law Offices of Roy A. Hoffman

Re: Partition lawsuit/Tenents in Common

If your girlfriend won't agree to sell or allow you to "buy her out," the only route is to file a partition action. You will need to file a complaint, have the court issue a summons, file a notice of pending action (a "Lis Pendens"), have someone else personally serve a copy of the summons and complaint on your girlfriend, obtain an appraisal, and obtain a judgment. After you obtain what is known as an interlocutory judgment of partition for sale, you will need to have the court appoint a real estate professional to sell the property, subject to court approval, then go back to court for an order approving the sale and order distribution of the proceeds of sale.

Partition actions can be complex and, unless you have some experience with lawsuits, you should seriously consider hiring an experienced attorney to handle this matter for you. Because the law considers that one who brings a partition action is doing so on behalf of all owners, you will be able to recover your costs, and at least some portion of the attorneys fees you spend out of the proceeds due your girlfriend.

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Answered on 12/23/05, 2:04 pm
Scott Schomer Schomer Law Group

Re: Partition lawsuit/Tenents in Common

If she won't agree, partition is your only remedy. You should try and file first, because as the party that forces the issue you have a better chance of forcing her to pay some or all of your attorney's fees and costs. There is not much she can do to defend against such a claim, so hopefully the filing will bring her to her senses, which just happened in a similar matter I have been handling. If I can be of assistance, please give me a call.

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Answered on 12/23/05, 2:36 pm

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