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.