A partition action is a lawsuit filed to divide or force a sale of property owned by more than one person. This type of lawsuit is commonly used in inheritance situations, though co-owners of a property may also use them.
A partition action is beneficial when owners or inheritors cannot agree on what they want done with the property or when one of the owners cannot be located. For example, if two people co-own a house, and one wants to sell it and the other wants to keep it and live in it, a partition action may be the only way to resolve the issue.
What Is the Right to Partition?
Under Texas law, a joint owner who does not want to retain joint ownership with another person cannot be made to maintain that relationship under any circumstances. That means any co-owner of real or personal property may compel a partition.
As long as someone fits the above description and has an equal right to possess the property with any other joint owners, their right to partition is absolute. This means there is no effective defense against such an action, although the right to partition may be waived or contracted away if all parties are in agreement.
What Are the Types of Partition?
Two types of partition can be judicially ordered: partition in kind or sale of a property. Partition in kind refers to the physical division of land. For example, if a couple owns ten acres of land and one requests a partition action, the court will divide the property into two five-acre parcels and allot full ownership of one parcel to each person.
The sale of property means that the whole property is sold, and the proceeds from that sale are split between the owners. This type of partition is used when partition in kind is simply not feasible, or it is impossible to divide the property equitably.
How Does the Partition of Heirs’ Property Work?
Partition among heirs is a special case and not governed by the same rules as partition among joint owners. Texas adopted the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act in 2017, which aims to protect family property throughout the inheritance process. Because beneficiaries often inherit property in different percentages, the Act gives heirs the opportunity to buy out any interest of an owner and fellow inheritor who is trying to force a sale.
Unlike regular partitions, the right to partition as an heir is subject to certain requirements. A court must evaluate these factors to determine the appropriateness of partition. These include whether heirs’ property can be practically divided, whether there is any sentimental attachment to the property, or whether the value of parcels of the property would be materially less than the value as a whole.
For any partition questions, you may have and for the legal help you deserve, call an experienced Texas attorney now at 281-771-0560.