What is a Petition to Partition?
A petition to partition is an action used when a property owner wishes to sell a piece of property they own as joint tenants with another individual who wishes not to sell. Read more about the different types of titles that you can hold on a property. In Massachusetts, a person who wishes to sell a property has legal recourse; the party who refuses to sell does not need to agree with the action.
The party who wishes to sell will commence a legal partition, meaning they will bring the property to a court proceeding forcing its sale or physical division among the joint tenants. Normally, the physical division of real property is impractical or impossible, so, the court will order its sale via auction or private sale and appoint an impartial commissioner to oversee the process. The party who does not wish to sell does have the option to purchase the property from the other owner, but if they cannot manage to do so, the property will then be sold.
An owner wanting to file a petition for partition may do so in the county Probate Court or the Land Court where the property is located. Notice of the petition for partition must be served on any and all parties that have interest in the land, including owners or a mortgage lender. Notice of the petition for partition must be filed with the appropriate Registry of Deeds.
A physical division may be possible if the property is undeveloped or there is more than one unit on it. The court may also order the sale of the property or a buyout by one party of the other's interests. The goal of the court is to get the greatest return on the property for all co-owners, according to its fair market value.
Once the partition happens, the division of the proceeds from the sale will be in accordance with the owner’s interest in the property. For example, if one owner owned sixty (60%) percent, while another owned forty (40%) percent, generally the first owner would get sixty (60%) percent of the proceeds, and the other owner would receive forty (40%) percent. However, the court will consider other factors, such as if an owner contributed more than their ownership share toward the property's expenses or maintenance.
To further discuss a petition for partition matter contact us here or call our office (781) 848-0040 and schedule a consultation today.
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