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Partition Statutes

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.010.

As used in this title:

  • "Action" means an action for partition under this title.
  • "Lien" means a mortgage, deed of trust, or other security interest in property whether arising from contract, statute, common law, or equity.
  • "Property" includes real and personal property.
  • "Remainder" includes reversion, reversionary interest, right of entry, and executory interest.
  • "Title report" includes a preliminary report, guarantee, binder, or policy of title insurance.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 730.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.020.
  • This title governs actions for partition of real property and, except to the extent not applicable, actions for partition of personal property.
  • 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 119, Sec. 1. (AB 633) Effective January 1, 2022.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.030.

The statutes and rules governing practice in civil actions generally apply to actions under this title except where they are inconsistent with the provisions of this title.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.040.

Nothing in this title excuses compliance with any applicable laws, regulations, or ordinances governing the division, sale, or transfer of property.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.110.
  • The superior court has jurisdiction of actions under this title.
  • Subject to the power of the court to transfer actions, the proper county for the trial of actions under this title is:
    1. Where the subject of the action is real property or real and personal property, the county in which the real property, or some part thereof, is situated.
    2. Where the subject of the action is personal property, the county in which the personal property is principally located at the commencement of the action or in which the defendants, or any of them, reside at the commencement of the action.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.120.

In the conduct of the action, the court may hear and determine all motions, reports, and accounts and may make any decrees and orders necessary or incidental to carrying out the purposes of this title and to effectuating its decrees and orders.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.130.

In the conduct of the action, the court may issue temporary restraining orders and injunctions, with or without bond, for the purpose of:

  • Preventing waste.
  • Protecting the property or title thereto.
  • Restraining unlawful interference with a partition of the property ordered by the court.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.140.

The court may, in all cases, order allowance, accounting, contribution, or other compensatory adjustment among the parties according to the principles of equity.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.210.
  • A partition action may be commenced and maintained by any of the following persons:
    1. A coowner of personal property.
    2. An owner of an estate of inheritance, an estate for life, or an estate for years in real property where such property or estate therein is owned by several persons concurrently or in successive estates.
  • Notwithstanding subdivision (a), an action between spouses or putative spouses for partition of their community or quasi-community property or their quasi-marital interest in property may not be commenced or maintained under this title.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.220.

If it is necessary to have a title report:

  • The plaintiff may, prior to commencing the action, procure a title report and shall in the complaint indicate this has been done and designate a place where it will be kept for inspection, use, and copying by the parties.
  • The court may, upon application of a party, authorize the party to procure a title report and shall designate a place where it shall be kept for inspection, use, and copying by the parties.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.230.

The complaint shall set forth:

  • A description of the property that is the subject of the action. In the case of tangible personal property, the description shall include its usual location. In the case of real property, the description shall include both its legal description and its street address or common designation, if any.
  • All interests the plaintiff has or claims in the property.
  • All interests of record or actually known to the plaintiff that persons other than the plaintiff have or claim in the property and that the plaintiff reasonably believes will be materially affected by the action, whether the names of such persons are known or unknown to the plaintiff.
  • The estate as to which partition is sought and a prayer for partition of the interests therein.
  • Where the plaintiff seeks sale of the property, an allegation of the facts justifying such relief in ordinary and concise language.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.240.

Real and personal property may be partitioned in one action.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.250.
  • Immediately upon filing the complaint, the plaintiff shall record a notice of the pendency of the action in the office of the county recorder of each county in which any real property described in the complaint is located.
  • If, thereafter, partition of other real property is sought in the same action, the plaintiff or other person seeking such relief shall immediately record a supplemental notice.
  • If the notice is not recorded, the court, upon its own motion or upon the motion of any party at any time, shall order the plaintiff or person seeking partition of the property, or another party on behalf of the plaintiff or other person, to record the notice and shall stay the action until the notice is recorded. The expense of recordation shall be allowed to the party incurring it.
  • From the time of filing the notice for record, all persons shall be deemed to have notice of the pendency of the action as to the property described in the notice.
Code of Civil Procedure section 872.310.
  • The form, content, and manner of service of summons shall be as in civil actions generally.
  • Service on persons named as parties pursuant to Sections 872.530(b) and 872.550, and on other persons named as unknown defendants, shall be by publication pursuant to Section 415.50 and the provisions of this article.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.320.

Where the court orders service by publication, such order shall be subject to the following conditions:

  • The plaintiff shall post, not later than 10 days after the date the order is made, a copy of the summons and complaint on the real property that is the subject of the action.
  • The plaintiff shall record, if not already recorded, a notice of the pendency of the action.
  • The publication shall describe the property that is the subject of the action. In addition to particularly describing the property, the publication shall describe the property by giving its street address, if any, or other common designation, if any; but, if a legal description of the property is given, the validity of the publication shall not be affected by the fact that the street address or other common designation recited is erroneous or that the street address or other common designation is omitted.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.330.
  • Where the court orders service by publication, the publication may:
    1. Name only the defendants to be served thereby.
    2. Describe only the property in which the defendants to be served thereby have or claim interests.
  • Judgment based on failure to appear and answer following service under this section shall be conclusive against the defendants named in respect only to property described in the publication.
Code of Civil Procedure section 872.410.

The answer shall set forth:

  • Any interest the defendant has or claims in the property.
  • Any facts tending to controvert such material allegations of the complaint as the defendant does not wish to be taken as true.
  • Where the defendant seeks sale of the property, an allegation of the facts justifying such relief in ordinary and concise language.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.420.

Where the defendant has or claims a lien on the property, the answer shall set forth the date and character of the lien and the amount remaining due thereon.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.430.

The answer may set forth any claim the defendant has for contribution or other compensatory adjustment.

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.510.

The plaintiff shall join as defendants in the action all persons having or claiming interests of record or actually known to the plaintiff or reasonably apparent from an inspection of the property, in the estate as to which partition is sought.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.520.
  • If the name of a person described in Section 872.510 is not known to the plaintiff, the plaintiff shall so state in the complaint and shall name as parties all persons unknown in the manner provided in Section 872.550.
  • If the ownership or the share or quantity of the interest of a person described in Section 872.510 is unknown, uncertain, or contingent, the plaintiff shall so state in the complaint. If the lack of knowledge, uncertainty, or contingency is caused by a transfer to an unborn or unascertained person or class member, or by a transfer in the form of a contingent remainder, vested remainder subject to defeasance, executory interest, or similar disposition, the plaintiff shall also state in the complaint, so far as is known to the plaintiff, the name, age, and legal disability (if any) of the person in being who would be entitled to ownership of the interest had the contingency upon which the right of such person depends occurred prior to the commencement of the action.
  • The court shall upon its own motion or upon motion of any party make such orders for joinder of additional parties and for appointment of guardians ad litem pursuant to Sections 372, 373, and 373.5 as are necessary or proper.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.530.
  • If a person described in Section 872.510 is dead and the plaintiff knows of a personal representative, the plaintiff shall join such personal representative as a defendant.
  • If a person described in Section 872.510 is dead, or is believed by the plaintiff to be dead, and the plaintiff knows of no personal representative:
    1. The plaintiff shall state these facts in an affidavit filed with the complaint.
    2. Where it is stated in the affidavit that such person is dead, the plaintiff may join as defendants "the testate and intestate successors of ____ (naming such deceased person), deceased, and all persons claiming by, through, or under said decedent," naming them in that manner.
    3. Where it is stated in the affidavit that such person is believed to be dead, the plaintiff may join such person as a defendant, and he may also join "the testate and intestate successors of ____ (naming such person) believed to be deceased, and all persons claiming by, through, or under such person," naming them in that manner.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.540.

Where property is subject to a lease, community lease, unit agreement, or other pooling arrangement with respect to oil or gas or both, the plaintiff need not join as defendants persons whose only interest in the property is that of a lessee, royalty-owner, lessor-owner of other real property in the community, unit, or pooled area, or working interest owner, or persons claiming under them, and the judgment shall not affect the interests of such persons not joined as defendants.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.550.

Where partition is sought as to all interests in the property, the plaintiff may join as defendants "all persons unknown claiming any interest in the property," naming them in that manner.

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.610.

The interests of the parties, plaintiff as well as defendant, may be put in issue, tried, and determined in the action.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.620.

To the extent necessary to grant the relief sought or other appropriate relief, the court shall upon adequate proof ascertain the state of the title to the property.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.630.
  • To the extent necessary to grant the relief sought or other appropriate relief, the court shall determine the status and priority of all liens upon the property.
  • The court may appoint a referee to ascertain the facts necessary for the determination required by this section. Upon application of the referee or a lienholder, the court shall direct the issuance of process to compel attendance of witnesses, the production of books, documents, or things, and the filing of verified claims. The report of the referee thereon shall be made in writing to the court and shall be confirmed, modified, or set aside and a new reference ordered, as the justice of the case may require.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.640.

Where two or more parties are unknown, the court may consider their interests together in the action and not as between each other.

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.710.
  • At the trial, the court shall determine whether the plaintiff has the right to partition.
  • Except as provided in Section 872.730, partition as to concurrent interests in the property shall be as of right unless barred by a valid waiver.
  • Partition as to successive estates in the property shall be allowed if it is in the best interest of all the parties. The court shall consider whether the possessory interest has become unduly burdensome by reason of taxes or other charges, expense of ordinary or extraordinary repairs, character of the property and change in the character of the property since creation of the estates, circumstances under which the estates were created and change in the circumstances since creation of the estates, and all other factors that would be considered by a court of equity having in mind the intent of the creator of the successive estates and the interests and needs of the successive owners.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.720.
  • If the court finds that the plaintiff is entitled to partition, it shall make an interlocutory judgment that determines the interests of the parties in the property and orders the partition of the property and, unless it is to be later determined, the manner of partition.
  • If the court determines that it is impracticable or highly inconvenient to make a single interlocutory judgment that determines, in the first instance, the interests of all the parties in the property, the court may first ascertain the interests of the original concurrent or successive owners and thereupon make an interlocutory judgment as if such persons were the sole parties in interest and the only parties to the action. Thereafter, the court may proceed in like manner as between the original concurrent or successive owners and the parties claiming under them or may allow the interests to remain without further partition if the parties so desire.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.730.

To the extent that the court determines that the provisions of this title are a suitable remedy, such provisions may be applied in a proceeding for partnership accounting and dissolution, or in an action for partition of partnership property, where the rights of unsecured creditors of the partnership will not be prejudiced.

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.810.

The court shall order that the property be divided among the parties in accordance with their interests in the property as determined in the interlocutory judgment.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.820.

Notwithstanding Section 872.810, the court shall order that the property be sold and the proceeds be divided among the parties in accordance with their interests in the property as determined in the interlocutory judgment in the following situations:

  • The parties agree to such relief, by their pleadings or otherwise.
  • The court determines that, under the circumstances, sale and division of the proceeds would be more equitable than division of the property. For the purpose of making the determination, the court may appoint a referee and take into account his report.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.830.

If, in making a determination whether sale would be more equitable than division of the property, the court finds that sale and division of proceeds for part of the property would be more equitable than division of the whole property, the court may order that such part be sold and the remainder divided.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 872.840.
  • Where the property or an interest therein is subject to an express trust, the court may, in its discretion, order that the property be sold.
  • Upon division or sale of such property, the property or proceeds of sale allotted to the trustee of the express trust shall be held by him upon the trust therein stated, and no further action by the court pursuant to Section 873.840 is required.
Code of Civil Procedure section 873.010.
  • The court shall appoint a referee to divide or sell the property as ordered by the court.
  • The court may:
    1. Determine whether a referee's bond is necessary and fix the amount of the bond.
    2. Instruct the referee.
    3. Fix the reasonable compensation for the services of the referee and provide for payment of the referee's reasonable expenses.
    4. Provide for the date of commencement of the lien of the referee allowed by law.
    5. Require the filing of interim or final accounts of the referee, settle the accounts of the referee, and discharge the referee.
    6. Remove the referee.
    7. Appoint a new referee.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.020.

The court in its discretion may appoint a referee for sale and a referee for division, or may appoint a single referee for both.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.030.
  • The court may, with the consent of the parties, appoint three referees to divide or sell the property as ordered by the court.
  • The three referees so appointed shall have all the powers and may perform all the duties required of one referee.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.040.
  • The court shall appoint as referee under this title any person or persons to whose appointment all parties have consented.
  • In the case of a minor party or a party for whom a conservator of the estate has been appointed, the guardian or conservator of the estate of the party may so consent.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 730.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.050.

None of the following persons shall be appointed a referee under this title:

  • A clerk or deputy clerk of the court.
  • A former or present partner or employee of the judge.
  • A relative within the third degree of the judge or the judge's spouse or the spouse of such a relative.
  • An owner of any interest in the property that is the subject of the action.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.060.

The referee may perform any acts necessary to exercise the authority conferred by this title or by order of the court.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.070.

The referee or any party may, on noticed motion, petition the court for instructions concerning the referee's duties under this title.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.080.
  • In selling or dividing the property, the referee may, if it will be for the advantage of those interested, designate a portion of the property as a public or private way, road, or street. In connection therewith, the referee may also recommend the closure of any or all other roads on the property and allocation of the portion of the property occupied by such roads to the parties.
  • Upon making such a designation and recommendation that is adequate to accommodate public and private needs, the referee shall report that fact to the court.
  • Upon confirmation of the referee's report by the court, subject to any necessary action by the appropriate public entities:
    1. The portion of the property designated as a public way, road, or street shall not be allocated to any of the parties or sold but shall be an open and public way, road, or street.
    2. The property designated as a private way, road, or street shall be a private way for the use of the parties interested.
    3. The roads recommended to be closed shall be deemed abandoned upon the terms stated in the order of confirmation.
Code of Civil Procedure section 873.110.

Subject to the limitations of this article, the court may:

  • Authorize or approve contracts of the referee for the services and expenses of surveyors, engineers, appraisers, attorneys, real estate brokers, auctioneers, and others.
  • Allow and direct payment of or reject claims under such contracts.
  • Provide for the date of commencement of any lien provided by law or contract for such claims.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.120.
  • The referee may employ an attorney only with the approval of the court pursuant to Section 873.110.
  • The application for approval shall be in writing and shall include the name of the attorney whom the referee wishes to employ and the necessity for the employment.
  • The attorney so employed may not be attorney for, or associated with or employed by an attorney for, any party to the action except with the written consent of all the parties to the action.
  • Any claim for compensation for the attorney shall detail the services performed by the attorney.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.130.

The referee may, with the approval of the court pursuant to Section 873.110, employ a surveyor with the necessary assistants to aid in making a sale or division of property.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.140.

The referee may, with the approval of the court pursuant to Section 873.110, employ an auctioneer, authorized to act as such in the locality, to conduct a public auction and to secure purchasers by such method for any property to be sold at public auction.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.150.

A contract for the services of an attorney, surveyor, auctioneer, or other third person may provide for the accrual of interest at a rate not in excess of the legal rate for amounts due under the contract that are not paid within three months after the time they become due and payable.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.160.

The referee is not personally liable on contracts made, or for expenses incurred, except as such liability is expressly assumed by the referee in writing.

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.210.

The referee appointed by the court to make a division of the property shall divide the property and allot the several portions to the parties, quality and quantity relatively considered, according to their interests in the property as determined in the interlocutory judgment.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.220.

As far as practical, and to the extent it can be done without material injury to the rights of the other parties, the property shall be so divided as to allot to a party any portion that embraces improvements made by that party or that party's predecessor in interest. In such division and allotment, the value of such improvements shall be excluded.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.230.

Where prior to the commencement of the action a party has executed a deed purporting to convey to a purchaser a portion of the property to be divided, to the extent it can be done without material injury to the rights of the other parties, the property shall be so divided as to allot that portion to the purchaser, the purchaser's heirs or assigns, or such other action taken as to make the deed effectual as a conveyance of that portion of the property.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.240.

Where real property consists of more than one distinct lot or parcel, the property shall be divided by such lots or parcels without other internal division to the extent that it can be done without material injury to the rights of the parties.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.250.
  • Where division cannot be made equally among the parties according to their interests without prejudice to the rights of some, compensation may be required to be made by one party to another to correct the inequality.
  • No compensation shall be required to be made to others by unknown owners or by minors unless it appears that a minor has personal property sufficient for that purpose and the minor's interest will be promoted thereby.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.260.

Where a lien is on an undivided interest of a party, the lien shall, upon division of the property, become a charge only on the share allotted to that party.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.270.

Where the court has determined the combined interests of two or more unknown parties, the entire portion of the property allocated to such parties shall remain undivided.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.280.
  • The referee shall file with the court a report of the referee's proceedings and give written notice of filing to each party who has appeared in the action.
  • The report shall include all of the following:
    1. A specification of the manner in which the referee has executed the referee's trust.
    2. A description of the property divided and of the share allotted to each party, along with any recommendation as to owelty.
    3. Any recommendation as to opening and closing public and private ways, roads, streets, and easements.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.290.
  • Any party, upon notice to the other parties who have appeared, may move the court to confirm, modify, or set aside the report.
  • At the hearing, the court may either confirm the report as filed or as the court may modify and enter judgment of partition accordingly or set aside the report and order preparation of a new report and, if necessary, appoint a new referee for this purpose.
  • The division is effective and title vests in accordance therewith upon entry of judgment of partition.
Code of Civil Procedure section 873.510.

The referee appointed by the court to make a sale of the property shall sell the property in the manner and following the procedures provided in this chapter.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.520.

The property shall be sold at public auction or private sale as the court determines will be more beneficial to the parties. For the purpose of making this determination, the court may refer the matter to the referee and take into account the referee's report.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.530.

Part of the property may be sold at public auction and part at private sale if it appears that to do so will be more beneficial to the parties.

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.600.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the court shall order sale by such methods and upon such terms as are expressly agreed to in writing by all the parties to the action.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.610.
  • The court may, at the time of trial or thereafter, prescribe such manner, terms, and conditions of sale not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter as it deems proper for the particular property or sale.
  • The court may refer the manner, terms, and conditions of sale to the referee for recommendation but shall not approve the referee's report except following a hearing upon noticed motion.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 873.620.
  • Unless the interests and rights of the parties will be materially prejudiced thereby, the court shall order that distinct lots or parcels of real property be sold separately.
  • The court may order that the real and personal property or any portion thereof be sold as a unit.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 73.)

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