Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) Section 872.020 - Partition Law Title

California Code of Civil Procedure section 872.020 is under Title 10.5 Partition of Real and Personal Property. This statute details the scope, or in other words, the actions of partition that the title controls. The statute aims to clarify the property to which Partition Law actions may apply.

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.020 states

This title governs actions for partition of real property and, except to the extent not applicable, actions for partition of personal property.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 119, Sec. 1. (AB 633) Effective January 1, 2022; Stats.2022, c. 82 (A.B.2245), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2023.)

What Is an Example?

For example, “Cristy” and her brother “Robert,” each inherited an undivided equal interest in their parents’ home that they had grown up in. The pair had agreed to split maintenance and repairs on the home. However, Cristy had paid for the improvements by herself, and Robert had not contributed anything to the home’s repairs. Robert did not live in the home and Cristy lived in the home with her fiancé. Cristy wants to sell the house so she can buy a new home with her fiancé once they get married. Robert, however, was mad at Cristy because he thought that she did not see the value in preserving their family home for their future children, and so refused to agree to sell the house. Because they both did not agree to sell, a realtor could not help Cristy and her brother refused to discuss the matter further. Cristy felt trapped as she wanted to start a new life with her husband without the obligation of the home that her brother was not helping her with. Cristy then, however, found a partition lawyer, who was able to file a “partition action” within the meaning of Code of Civil Procedure section 872.020, as the home was real property within the scope of the partition statute. Cristy was able to get the house sold so she could have a new beginning with her soon to be husband. A partition lawyer got the job done.

Law Revision Commission Comments (CCP § 872.020)

1976 Addition

Section 872.020 is derived from the second sentence of former Section 752a. Owners of both real and personal property may maintain a partition action. See Section 872.210. This title does not apply to property divisions under the Family Law Act or in other types of cases specifically governed by other statutes.

It should be noted that there may be provisions of this title which, although phrased in general terms, are not applicable to personal property. See, e.g., Section 873.080 (zoning requirements, subdivision map requirements, land dedication requirements, street opening and closing provisions).

Assembly Committee Comments

On account of the Legislature’s overall agreement with the Law Revision Commission’s recommendations for changes to partition law, the Assembly Comment for this statute is essentially identical to the Commission comments from 1976.

There was, however, a brief change that occurred during 2021. That year, the Legislature returned to the partition statutes for the first time in decades to pass the “Partition of Heirs Property Act.” In so doing, Section 872.020 was amended to read:

  • (a) This title governs actions for partition of real property and, except to the extent not applicable, actions for partition of personal property.
  • (b) Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 874.311) shall apply to actions filed on or after January 1, 2022, for partition of real property that is heirs property, as defined in Section 874.312.

Only a year later this change was undone when the Legislature amended the partition statutes yet again with the “Partition of Real Property Act.” The previously added “section (b)” was repealed, resulting in a restoration of Section 872.020 to its original 1976 form.

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