A Parting of the Ways: General Concepts of a Partition Action in Real Estate Law

When a marriage falls apart you get divorced. When business partners fall out, they dissolve the partnership. But what happens when two or more people who own the same piece of property want to split up and go their separate ways? In real estate law, you generally look to the rules of partition.

What is a Partition?

When real estate is jointly owned and a dispute arises about how to divide it, the parties can initiate a partition.

A partition action is the legal process by which co-owners to real property can have the property divided between them. If the parties can agree on how to divide up the property, they can get a voluntary partition.

If they can’t agree, one of the property owners can file a partition action (or a petition for partition) to have the land divided by court order.

Partitions in Georgia

In Georgia, there are two types of partition actions: equitable partition and statutory partition.

If statutory partition is available to the parties, then they will not be allowed to use equitable partition. Equitable partition is available only when the parties have no remedy at law (i.e., statutory partition won’t work) or if peculiar circumstances render equitable partition more “suitable and just.”

Statutory partition must follow the Georgia partition statute, which is quite detailed. (See, O.C.G.A. §§ 44-6-160 to 174.) Basically, a statutory partition is initiated when a co-owner petitions in the court in accordance with the statutory procedures and asks the court to divide the property.

If the property can be physically divided, the statute provides a procedure by which the court can order the land justly and equally divided. If the land cannot be divided, (for example, it is a home or an oddly-shaped piece of land) then the statute provides a means by which the property can be valued (appraised) and ultimately sold.

Partition actions are frequently contentious and the rules governing them are complex. That is why it is always best to consult with experienced real estate counsel.

Real Estate Attorneys With the Experience You Need

Property disputes involve important individual rights and are rarely ever simple. That’s why if you have a real estate issue, you need the guidance of an experienced real estate attorney. We have the experience you need. We are a real estate firm with offices in Cumming, Georgia and we serve Atlanta and the surrounding counties. To schedule your phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or you can contact us here.