We File Partition Actions For Unmarried Co-Tenants, Married Co-Owners, And Heirs: What To Know

A good piece of advice, if you have a partition issue, is to speak with an experienced real estate lawyer to learn about your rights.

There are many reasons why co-owing real property with another is good business or, in some cases, a blessing from a relative that passed. Sometimes, situations arise where the business relationship sours, the relationship ends, or the heirs no longer agree on how best to manage the inherited real property.

Partition suits can be pled in a dissolution of marriage actions. Still, an estate by the entireties is not subject to partition until after the entry of a final judgment of dissolution of marriage when the ownership becomes a tenancy in common.

Florida legislature considered these situations when passing Florida Law to help co-owners, from all these circumstances, decide how to make what could be an emotional an economic decision.

Partitioning Land
Partition of real property is a fancy word for dividing real property. Under F.S. Ch. 64, a partition action may be brought by “any one or more of several joint tenants, tenants in common, or coparceners, against their co-tenants, coparceners, or others interested in the lands to be divided.” 3

We understand that the value would likely diminish if you physically divided a house or piece of land. Hence, the Florida Law helps set a road map for parties to follow to maintain the property’s maximum value for the parties best interest.

Calculating Proceeds of the Partition Sale
The rule is you own the percentage of the real property as indicated on the deed. So, if there are two owners, you each own 50%. If three owners, then 33% each, and so on.

Therefore, if the property were sold, the parties would divide the net proceeds after all the costs are paid at closing by their percentage of ownership.

That is the easy part.

Next, each party can argue for credits from the other party for any significant improvements, insurance, taxes, down payment, and so forth that they invested into the real property to maintain it during the co-ownership.

Also, if the property was rented, the parties can ask for credits if only one party received the rent. Alternatively, if one party was living in the home, the other party or parties can ask for their prorated rental value from the party in residence.

Generally, each co-tenant is liable for their proportionate share of the obligations and expenses of real property.

Forms of Relief
A co-owner can ask the court to determine the real property is not dividable in its current state and must be sold.

Also, a co-owner can ask that a special magistrate take control of the property to manage the sale and the division of proceeds.

Typically in partition, each co-owner is responsible for their own legal and court costs except in cases where the other co-owner is unreasonable and legal fees are warranted to be awarded to the co-owner who bore the financial burden of the partiion.

In our experience, most partition actions result in a settlement before trial, but the suit was necessary for the parties to discuss how best to resolve the real property. Also, the court requires the parties to mediate before trial, and mediation offers the parties a safe environment to discuss and amicably resolve the matter.


What Should I Do?

A good piece of advice, if you have a partition issue, is to speak with an experienced real estate lawyer to learn about your rights.

Our office has successfully handled many partition cases for Florida real property owners and can help you.

Schedule your complimentary 30-minute telephone consultation today