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Baldwin Park Partition Lawyers

The City of Baldwin Park dates back to 1860, when the land was known as Vineland and used for cattle grazing. In 1906, the city was renamed to Baldwin Park, after Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin. Today, Baldwin Park is home to over 70,000 residents and known as the home to the first In-N-Out burger stand and In-N-Out University. Over 60% of Baldwin Park homes are owner-occupied, which suggests that many homes are jointly owned. Jointly owned real estate may become a problem if a dispute arises between co-owners.

What Is a Partition Action?

A partition action is a judicially-supervised forced sale of real estate. In California, each co-owner has an “absolute” right to partition the property. “Ordinarily, if the party seeking partition is shown to be a tenant in common, and as such entitled to the possession of the land sought to be partitioned, the right to partition is absolute, and cannot be denied, ‘either because of any supposed difficulty, nor on the suggestion that the interest of the co-tenants will be promoted by refusing the application nor temporarily postponing the action.” (Priddel v. Shankie (1945) 69 Cal.App.2d 319, 325 (emphasis added).) Thus, any owner of real estate (whether 5%, 50%, or 95%) has the right to bring a partition action in California. =

Basically, any person who is an owner of real estate can bring a partition action in California. Code of Civil Procedure section 872.710, subdivision (a), states "A partition action may be commenced and maintained by any…owner of…such property." California Civil Code section 872.210 provides a property owner with the "absolute right to partition" absent a valid waiver. Thus, a partition action can be brought by anyone who no longer wants to own jointly owned real estate, other than spousal property.

What Are the Steps in a Partition Action?

Generally, the first step in the partition lawsuit process is not a lawsuit, but an earnest attempt to resolve the matter informally, such as through a partition agreement. Only when it is clear that litigation is the only option, is it clear that a partition lawsuit is appropriate.

When it is clear that a partition lawsuit is necessary, then the process begins with the filing of a complaint in the county where the property is located. There are several technical requirements for the partition complaint, and many important steps that must be taken during the lawsuit to ensure that the process is managed effectively.

In a partition lawsuit, there are generally four different steps. First, the court determines each party's ownership interests. Second, the court will decide on the manner of sale. Third, the court will order the property be sold. Fourth, the proceeds from the sale will be divided between the parties based on their relative contributions to the property.

While some may believe that inherited property cannot be partitioned, this is incorrect. Instead, when the property is owned as the result of an inheritance, there may be an additional step for an appraisal, and a right of first refusal, as provided by the Uniform Partition of Heirs Act. Under this act, where a co-tenant requests partition by sale, the law gives the non-partition owner the option to buy all of the interests of the co-tenants who requested the sale.

What Are the Common Types of Partition Actions?

Generally, a partition action is the best remedy for disputing co-owners in four broad categories:

  • Split ownership real estate dispute;
  • Brother-Sister real estate dispute;
  • Investor-Investor real estate dispute; and
  • Significant other real estate dispute
What Is an Example of a Partition Lawsuit?

Any co-owner of real or personal property may bring a partition suit to sever common interests in property to avoid the inconvenience and conflict that can come from jointly possessing property. (Cummings v. Dessel (2017) 13 Cal.App.5th 589, 596.) Generally, a statute of limitations sets the maximum time period for which a party can initiate legal proceedings. However, no statute of limitations applies to partition actions. Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed this longstanding rule in a case decided by the Second District Court of Appeal known as Barajas v. Triola (2020) Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 7239.

There, Barajas and Triola were both attorneys in a personal relationship who acquired their interest in a property as tenants in common through grant deeds from Barajas’ aunt, and later Barajas sought to partition the Property. After the couple ended their relationship, the parties drafted a Dissolution Agreement that provided that the Property would be transferred to both of their names, to be held jointly. This Agreement was unsigned and undated. In addition, a deed was executed, transferring title to both parties, but it was lost. The trial court entered an interlocutory judgment, finding that each party owned 50% interest in the Property. Triola appealed, claiming that any claim Barajas had on the Property was barred by the statute of limitations.

The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that it has long held that “a statute of limitations never bars relief between tenants in common in an action of partition.” (Adams v. Hopkins (1904) 144 Cal. 19, 27.) This rule is premised on the idea that a co-owner has a property interest and thus has an absolute right to bring a partition action at any time, absent waiver or estoppel. (American Medical International, Inc. v. Feller (1976) 59 Cal.App.3d 1008, 1013.) Moreover, the Appellate Court held that even though the deed was lost, the law provides that the mere failure to record a deed does not invalidate the transfer. (Blackburn v. Drake (1963) 211 Cal.App.2d 806, 814.) Because the transfer was complete on delivery of the deed to the house, the Appellate Court determined that no statute of limitations began to run or expired when Barajas brought the partition action.

How Underwood Law Firm Can Help

In order to start resolving these situations, you should contact an experienced Baldwin Park Partition Lawyer as soon as you are ready to start the next chapter of your life.

Learn more here.

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“We were in need of a real estate attorney. Eli Underwood provided excellent legal advice and services. He explained everything well and followed through with all important issues that needed attention. We found him to be reliable, courteous, patient and extremely professional. We highly recommend Mr. Underwood without any reservations.” I.S.
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"Eli took our case and controlled every hurdle put before us. I one time commented to him that he must love his job because it seemed that he was always available. When talking about my case to anyone I always bring up where, I believe, the other parties Lawyer tried to take advantage of my wife and me. Eli stopped him in his tracks. On top of it being easy to work with Eli, it was a pleasure to have had him represent us. We were in good hands." E.T
"We were in need of an attorney with considerable knowledge of real estate law and the legal issues related to property ownership. Eli Underwood went above and beyond our expectations. In keeping us abreast of our suit, his communication skills were outstanding. This talent was especially demonstrated when dealing with the apposing counsel. We feel this gave us a tremendous advantage over the opposing party that resulted in us reaching a successful outcome. I would highly recommend Eli Underwood as we found him to be an exceptional attorney." P.B.
"In our need for legal services we found Eli to be well informed and on top of our case and our needs. Our's was not an ordinary case as it was a case with many facets. It was a very convoluted case. There were multiple owners involved in a property dispute where one of the owners sued the rest of the owners with a Partition Suit. Needless to say Eli was instrumental in helping us resolve our differences and gained us a profitable sale all with good end results for all. If you hire Eli Underwood you will not be disappointed!" M.A.