Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s the day to think of the one you love, or at least used to. When a relationship goes bad and you own property together, it is important to take action to protect your rights as you exit the relationship. If you purchased a home, or other real property, with a loved one and it is time for that to come to an end, we here at Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, PA can help you.
Perhaps one of you wants to sell the house, and the other wants to keep it – or is just plain refusing to communicate and to resolve the issue. In Florida, when the owners of a property are unable to come to an agreement on the disposition of a property the law allows for something called a “partition.”
When you file for a partition, what you are doing is asking for the Court to determine the best way to dispose of property that is owned jointly. This is especially useful in the case of non-married people who buy property together, or even in the case of property that was inherited by more than one person (such as siblings) and they can’t come to an agreement on what to do with it.
A partition can be filed by any joint owner of a property, and the defendants are the other owners. It must be filed in the county that the property is physically located in, regardless of where the owners live, and it is a formal lawsuit that gets filed with the Clerk of Court.
Because land cannot usually be readily divided, particularly if it is a residence with a house on it, the Court will usually order that the property be sold and the profits get divided amongst the owners. The Court will also decide what percentage of the profits go to each owner, as there is often a discrepancy if one party has been paying all (or most) of the bills related to the property. Because this can be a highly contested area, it is important to keep track of the amounts that you have paid towards the property.
Keep an accounting of the mortgage payments, tax bills, improvements, and other similar expenses so that way we can show the Judge why your percentage should be higher than the other owners. The equity in the property, if any, can be allocated as the Judge sees fit. The better we are able to document your position, the better of an outcome we can obtain for you.
We recommend that for the best possible outcome, that the property should be properly advertised and sold through a real estate professional as it will almost certainly result in a higher price than if it is force-sold through a partition. We can help you work towards an amicable resolution with the other owners of the property. But when that fails, and an agreement simply cannot be reached, we will be here to assist you in getting the partition filed and following through with it for you.