Underwood-Blog-Images-4-300x300“Joint tenancy” is a phrase that most people associate with the co-ownership of a property. And indeed, this is correct. Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership in California, second only to tenancies-in-common in terms of popularity. But just because the words “joint tenancy” are used in a deed or other property-related document does not mean one actually exists. 

For a joint tenancy to be “true” means its effects fully apply. At a minimum, ownership percentages between the owners need to be equal, and the right of survivorship has to be present between the parties. What’s more, is that if any of the statutory or legal requirements associated with its creation are missing, then the joint tenancy does not exist, and it cannot be “true.” 

At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are well-versed in co-tenancy and the various forms it can take, including joint tenancy. The rights and duties that follow each of these ownership schemes are unique, making them a key issue in real estate litigation. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-1-300x300In California, in many partition actions, the court may enter an interlocutory judgment of partition, whereby there is an entry of judgment for partition. As opposed to a final judgment, an interlocutory judgment is a temporary judgment that is issued during the litigation of a case rather than after trial.

In general, interlocutory judgments are judgments entered before a trial comes to an end. “An interlocutory judgment or order is a provisional determination of some or all issues in the cause.” (7 Witkin, Cal. Procedure, supra, Judgement, § 12, p. 548.) Witkin identifies three different types of interlocutory judgments that exist.

The motion for an interlocutory judgment is a common issue in partition actions. Specifically, under Code of Civil Procedure section 872.720, the court must enter an interlocutory judgment when the court finds that the Plaintiff in a partition action is entitled to a partition. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with the interlocutory judgment and requirements needed to get an interlocutory judgment. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-2-300x300If the parties consent to arbitration, they decide to settle their dispute outside the confines and strict procedure of courtrooms. That said, arbitration awards are not automatically court judgments just because they resolve legal claims.

On the contrary, arbitration awards are just contracts between parties and are not independently enforceable under the law. For that reason, those individuals who receive an arbitration award need to take one final step and confirm the award by petitioning the court.

These petitions, however, can be the subject of much litigation in their own right. Parties will treat these petitions as a means of re-opening legal disputes the arbitration was designed to close. But it doesn’t need to be this way. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are well-versed in the law surrounding arbitration and other methods of alternative dispute resolution. With our assistance, we can help litigants get through the arbitration process.

Underwood-Blog-Images-3-300x300Even when a party finally secures a judgment of partition, the property itself must still be sold (or partitioned in another way). This raises a brand-new set of issues for litigants as they attempt to figure out the terms of sale, when the property should be sold, and, most importantly, the asking price.

But sometimes, one of the buyers is a party to the litigation itself. While the law allows for this, it would be counterintuitive to force that party to submit a bid for the full price of the house when they already have equity in it. The law’s solution to this is the full credit bid.

Full credit bids allow parties to “credit” their bid for the property with the value of their equity already in place. This reduces the amount of cash they actually need to bid for the property. That said, it isn’t always an option, and sometimes it can wind up being a disadvantage for the party attempting to utilize it.

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-300x300In most breach of contract actions, the court must find that a valid contract has been created. There are several requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to have an enforceable contract. In certain circumstances, evidence of the existence of a contract in writing is required for the contract to be valid.

In general, contracts are not required to be in writing; oral contracts are enforceable. However, under the Code of Civil Procedure section 1624, certain contracts are required to be in writing. Code of Civil Procedure section 1624 is also known as the Statute of Frauds, and it renders certain contracts invalid if there is no writing to evidence the terms of the contract.

Code of Civil Procedure section 1624 sets forth a list of different categories of contracts that, per the Statute of Frauds, are required to be in writing. Specifically, there are seven types of contracts defined by section 1624 that a party to a breach of contract lawsuit should be aware of. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with the Statute of Frauds and the writing requirements for a contract.   

Underwood-Blog-Images-300x300In California, business enterprises can take many forms (LLCs, corporations, partnerships, etc.). But perhaps the most unique is the “joint venture,” a special entity that, more often than not, is imposed by courts as a matter of law. This is because a joint venture is simply an “undertaking by two or more persons jointly to carry out a single business enterprise for profit.” (Unruh-Haxton v. Regents of University of California (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 343, 370.) 

Joint ventures can be thought of as informal general partnerships, lacking the formalities of partnership agreements and usually lasting for a shorter duration. That said, they nonetheless carry the same fiduciary duties and responsibilities associated with partnerships in California. Moreover, the statutes within the Revised Uniform Partnership Act apply with equal force to both types of entities. (Chambers v. Kay (2002) 29 Cal.4th 142, 151.) 

At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are well-versed in the law behind joint ventures and partnerships, particularly as these entities relate to real estate projects. With our skills, we stand ready to help all of our clients achieve their litigation goals. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-2-300x300The appointment of a partition referee is one of the most important aspects of a Partition Action. A partition referee is a neutral third party that is appointed by and accountable to the court. The sole function of a partition referee is to assist the court in matters related to partition actions. (CCP § 873.510.) The purpose of this blog post is to address who can serve as a partition referee in a court-supervised partition sale. 

Generally, the law does not contain any requirements that a person must have in order to be eligible to serve as a Partition Referee. Instead, Code of Civil Procedure section 873.050 lists only individuals who cannot serve as partition referees. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with partition actions and the complexities of appointing the right partition referee.  

What is a Partition Action? 

Underwood-Blog-Images-5-300x300The deed to a property is the most important document a property owner has. It describes the title and its associated rights while operating as the conveyance of property itself. For that reason, the law presumes the validity of deeds without defects on their face. But that does not mean that every deed is legally valid and not subject to cancellation.

In California, there exists a special type of remedy that allows for deeds to be canceled. This, however, is a rare outcome. The deed itself must be void or voidable in order for this to occur. The Underwood Law Firm is well-versed in these types of cancelation claims and holds the skills to help our clients achieve their litigation goals.

What is a deed?

Underwood-Blog-Images-3-300x300Even when a party finally secures a judgment of partition, the property itself must still be sold (or partitioned in another way). This raises a brand-new set of issues for litigants as they attempt to figure out the terms of sale, when the property should be sold, and, most importantly, the asking price.

Usually, anyone can buy the property for sale, but shrewd litigants can impose the right terms to ensure that the pool of potential bidders is sufficiently narrowed to meet their goals. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with the practice and procedure of partition sales and are here to assist you in achieving your litigation objectives.

What is a partition sale?

Underwood-Blog-Images-2-300x300In most partition actions, the court appoints a partition referee in order to see that the property is sold or properly divided. The job of a Partition referee requires one to carry out several responsibilities and obligations. The purpose of this article is to provide some information on a partition referee’s duties and authority under the partition statutes.   

What is a Partition? 

A Partition action is a lawsuit that seeks to distribute equally a piece of property or sell said property and distribute the proceeds of the sale equally among the titleholders of the property. The rules governing Partition actions are set forth in the California Civil Code of Procedure.    

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