Petition to Partition
Two or more co-tenants share a present, undivided legal interest in property and disagree over how it should be sold. This type of situation generally occurs when:
- Someone dies, leaving the property to multiple owners who do not want to live together, or
- An unmarried couple who own property as tenants in common, separate, and cannot agree on how to divide the property.
In such a situation, one party may petition the Land Court or Probate Court in Massachusetts for a Petition to Partition. This allows a court to step in and determine how to divide the property between the co-tenants. The court might physically divide the property into separate parcels (though this is usually not applicable). More commonly, the court will force a sale by placing the property on the open market and locating a new buyer. Then the court will determine how the proceeds are divided among the former co-tenants, taking into account upkeep, maintenance, and contribution to the initial acquisition of the property. The court may appoint a Special Master to oversee the transfer of the property. As a third option the court may allow one co-tenant to buy out the others.
A petition to partition property can result in a lengthy proceeding and involve complicated litigation. Sometimes disputes arise over the value of the property, the actual ownership interest of each party, and tax liabilities.
The petition to partition proceeding is often viewed as a last resort where there is a complete communication breakdown and a lack of cooperation between family members. Such actions sometimes lead to increased administrative costs due to the involvement of a realtor and Special Master.Experienced Attorneys For Your Real Estate Issues
Our attorneys will strive to help you resolve your real estate dispute through negotiation and mediation while keeping your best interests in mind. With our experience, we can ensure that the maximum amount of money is divided among the co-tenants, rather than going towards court costs and third parties. Where negotiation is not possible, we can commence litigation with the goal of achieving a fair resolution as swiftly and cost-effectively as possible.
If you find yourself in the middle of a messy property division, contact one of our experienced real estate attorneys today at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. to learn about your options.