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Burbank Partition Lawyer

The City of Burbank was named after David Burbank, who purchased the land in 1867 and built a ranch to raise sheep and grow wheat. Today, Burbank is known as the "media capital of the world" and is home to some of the largest media, entertainment, and production companies in the world such as Warner Brothers Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company. As more people continue to move to Burbank for employment, the cost of housing continues to rise. As a result, Burbank residents may wish to sell their homes to get the best value. However, residents of Burbank who jointly own property may face disputes with co-owners. Generally, a partition action is the best remedy for disputing co-owners in four broad categories:

  • Split real estate dispute;
  • Brother-Sister real estate dispute;
  • Investor-Investor real estate dispute; and
  • Significant other real estate dispute

At the conclusion of a partition sale, the court may award attorneys' fees paid by a party for the common benefit of all the co-owners. Where an attorney's services benefit both parties, the court may award attorneys' fees to both parties. Attorneys' fees are awarded at the time of final judgment. Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed the equitable apportionment of attorneys' fee awards to a party when that party moved to recover her attorney's fee in a case decided by the Fourth District Court of Appeal known as Hernandez v. Luna (2022) WL 16757487.

In Hernandez v. Luna, a formerly engaged couple purchased property together, and later Hernandez, the fiancée, sought to partition the Property. After the trial court entered a judgment to divide the proceeds of the sale equally between the parties, Hernandez moved for attorney fees.

The trial court granted the motion in part by awarding her reasonable attorney fees incurred from the beginning of the action to the time Luna, the fiancé stipulated to sell the Property, and ordering her to submit an accounting of her fees for that period at another scheduled hearing. Before the hearing took place, Luna filed a notice of appeal from the judgment, which stayed the proceedings and took the hearing off calendar. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment. On remand, Hernandez again, moved for attorney fees.

The trial court granted her motion and awarded her all of her fees from the commencement of the action to the time of stipulation, but only awarded her half of her attorneys fees for the time after the stipulation to trial after determining that the fees should be apportioned according to the each party's 50% interest in the Property. Luna appealed.

The Court of Appeal affirmed, finding that under Code of Civil Procedure Section 873.040, "the court shall apportion the costs of partition among the parties in proportion to their interests in the subject property or make such other apportionment as may be equitable." (CCP § 874.040.)

"Under section 874.010, costs of partition include reasonable attorney's fees incurred or paid by a party for the common benefit." (CCP § 874.040(a).) Moreover, the Court held that the statutes "authorize an award of attorney fees in partition actions, and they do not expressly preclude an award of appellate fees." The Court of Appeal determined that Luna did not meet his burden of showing that the court's fee award constituted an abuse of discretion as the trial court properly apportioned the costs of partition among the parties. Thus, Hernandez had a right to recover her attorneys' fees.

How Underwood Law Firm Can Help

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

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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.
"I own a real estate investment company that operates across multiple states (California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and more), whenever I run into an issue that needs legal attention, Eli is my first call. I've been working with him for years. He is an amazing attorney and I highly recommend him." Thank you for your help Sir!" T.W.
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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.