Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) Section 872.240 - Joinder of Partition Property
Code of Civil Procedure section 872.240 allows for personal property to be partitioned with real property. The purpose of Section 872.240 is to give parties an avenue to partition their personal property alongside their real property should that be their desire.
Code of Civil Procedure section 872.240 states
Real and personal property may be partitioned in one action.
(Amended by Stats. 1976, c. 73, p. 110, § 6.)What Is an Example?
“Shawn” and “Julie” are an unmarried couple who bought a house in Los Angeles together as joint tenants. Shawn and Julie each have a fifty percent ownership interest in the property. The couple decides to buy lots of furniture and decorations for their house, which they pay for equally. The couple spends a great amount of money on this personal property, and they share enjoyment of the furniture and various decorations.
After several years, Shawn and Julie’s relationship breaks down. They can’t agree on what to do with the house, so Shawn brings a partition lawsuit. The couple also can’t agree on what to do with the furniture and decorations for the house, so Shawn also seeks a partition of personal property along with the house.
Here, Shawn can do this. CCP § 872.240 allows personal property to be partitioned with real property if it happens in the same lawsuit.
The court orders a partition by sale of the house and the personal property. The house is sold and the sale proceeds accordingly. The court also orders a partition by sale of the personal property. Similarly, all the personal property is sold, and the proceeds are distributed accordingly.Law Revision Commission Comments (CCP § 872.240)
Section 872.240 continues the last sentence of former Section 752a. Where different parties are interested in real and personal property joined in the action, severance may be appropriate. See Section 1048 (severance and consolidation of issues and causes).Assembly Committee Comments
Section 872.240 is one of many partition statutes without a comment from the Assembly Committee. This is not to say, however, that the Committee provided no guidance on this particular statute. Instead, when the Legislature passed the 1976 changes to California’s partition laws, they in large part adopted the Revision Commission recommendations.
The introduction to Assembly Bill 1671 (the bill that brought about the 1976 changes) states that the Revision Commission’s recommendations “reflect the intent of the Assembly Committee… in approving the various provisions of Assembly Bill 1671.” As such, it’s fair to assume that the Revision Commission comment is in line with the Legislature’s own feelings on this particular statute.
Comment or not, however, section 872.240 is rarely invoked. And that’s because co-ownership of personal property is rarer and more difficult to prove than it is with real property, where a deed clearly indicates that two or more individuals hold title to a particular piece of land.
That said, there is one typical situation where this statute might properly find some play: partitions of partnership assets. There, partitioning the partnership’s real property only solves one problem. There are still the partnership accounts to deal with. And in the case of informal partnerships, e.g., joint ventures, there aren’t any formal “accounts” to clearly delineate what belongs to whom.
Simply put, if a partner is seeking partition of the venture’s real property, they will more than likely want their share of venture’s assets, too. Section 872.240 therefore allows the court to sort all of this out concurrently.
What’s more is that case law appears to support this line of procedure. Courts will “apply the long-established rules of partition to the property division aspects of a partnership dissolution action.” ( Logoluso v. Logoluso (1965) 223 Cal.App.2d 523, 530.)
Additionally, in Tacherra v. Tacherra, an unpublished appellate decision out of the First District in 2012, section 872.240 was used as the basis of a partition action involving a partnership. There, two brothers entered into a joint venture and acquired significant real property holdings. Eventually, one sued the other for partition and conversion.
In upholding the trial court’s interlocutory judgment of partition, the court noted the plaintiff’s complaint was “primarily a suit for partition of the assets of the partnership” and cited section 872.240.