El Cajon Partition Lawyer
The City of El Cajon was named after its boxed in nature of the valley and translates to "the box" in Spanish. The city was incorporated on November 12, 1912. In the early 1920s, El Cajon was known for its agriculture, which included grape, tomato, and citrus plants. Today the city boasts a vibrant community, with safe neighborhoods and many amenities. As a town with over 105,000 residents, residents of El Cajon often own homes with others, which can lead to 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
Generally, following a default, the court hears evidence offered by the plaintiff, and renders judgment in the plaintiff's favor for that relief, not exceeding the amount stated in the complaint as appears by the evidence to be just. (CCP § 585(b).) Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed the importance of acting diligently in partition actions in a case decided by the Second District Court of Appeal known as George v. Williams (2022) 2022 Cal.App.Unpub. LEXIS 246.
There, the Williamses asked Elizabeth George to help them purchase the Property, and later George sought to partition the Property after the Williamses breached their agreement to pay their portion of the interest, some of the mortgage payments, and failed to repay the down payment or refinance the loan. A default judgment was entered against the Williamses based on their failure to respond. The trial court denied their motions for relief from the default, based on their failure to act diligently and failure to seek relief within a reasonable time. The trial court found for George and entered an interlocutory judgment ordering partition by sale and compensatory adjustments to be paid from the sale to George. The Williamses appealed, contending that the trial court erred when it entered a default judgment against them in violation of their Due Process rights, and did not properly establish each co-owner's interest.
The Court of Appeal affirmed, finding that "an application for relief from default shall be made within a reasonable time, in no case exceeding six months." (CCP § 473.) Because the Williamses brought their application after the six months, they were not entitled to relief. Additionally, the Appellate Court found that the default interlocutory judgment was supported by substantial evidence as the trial court properly considered George's declaration, the contract, and deeds attached to it. The Williamses then claimed that George committed fraud and misled the court by not disclosing all the payments, representing that the loan was to be repaid within a year, and recording title documents that only gave them a one percent interest in the Property. The Appellate Court determined that the Williamses forfeited their right to present evidence or otherwise participate in the prove-up hearing because they defaulted. (Sass v. Cohen (2020) 10 Cal.5th 861, 882.) Thus, George teaches that the failure to act diligently and seek relief within a reasonable time can be detrimental to one's case.How Underwood Law Firm Can Help
In order to start resolving these situations, you should contact an experienced El Cajon Partition Lawyer as soon as you are ready to start the next chapter of your life.