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Santa Barbara Partition Lawyer

The City of Santa Barbara is a beautiful coastal city located between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The city's history dates back as far as 13,000 years ago. Today, Santa Barbara is home to over 88,000 residents. Santa Barbara homes and buildings are known for their architectural themes, which reflect the town's history. As a town with rich historical roots, residents of Santa Barbara often own homes through inheritance, which may lead to disputes between 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

A partition may occur in kind or by sale. A partition in kind is the physical division of the property in accordance with the parties' interests as determined in the interlocutory judgment. (CCP § 872.810.) A partition by sale occurs when the property is sold, and the proceeds are divided among the parties. (CCP § 872.820.) Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed the issue of whether a partition in kind or partition by sale is appropriate in a case decided by the First District Court of Appeal known as Wagner v. Messana (2022) 2022 Cal.App.Unpub. LEXIS 1491.

There, three trusts owned a plot of land totaling about nine acres as tenants in common with an undivided one-third interest, and a trustee of one of the trusts sought to partition the Property by sale against the other two trusts. The trial court ordered the Property to be partitioned by sale after determining that a partition by sale was more equitable than a partition in kind. The other two trusts appealed.

The Court of Appeal affirmed, finding that "in many modern transactions, sale of the property is preferable to physical division since the value of the divided parcels frequently will not equal the value of the whole parcel before division." (Butte Creek Island Ranch v. Crim (1982) 136 Cal.App.3d 360, 365.) The Court of Appeal stated that "there are generally two types of evidence that are sufficient to justify a partition by sale: evidence that the property is situated in such a way that division into subparcels of equal value cannot be made, or evidence that "division of the land would substantially diminish the value of each party's interest." (Id. at 367) Although the trustee did not provide evidence that the Property was impossible to physically divide the Property, the trustee provided evidence that dividing the subparcels would be infeasible and that such a division would substantially diminish each party's interest. Further, the Appellate Court stated that physically dividing the Property, "would almost certainly lead to further conflict," as the parties already did not get along for years. As such, the Appellate Court determined that a partition by sale was more equitable and that the entire Property would be worth more than the individual pieces.

How Underwood Law Firm Can Help

In order to start resolving these situations, you should contact an experienced Santa Barbara Partition Lawyer as soon as you are ready to start the next chapter of your life.

Client Reviews
“We were in need of a real estate attorney. Eli Underwood provided excellent legal advice and services. He explained everything well and followed through with all important issues that needed attention. We found him to be reliable, courteous, patient and extremely professional. We highly recommend Mr. Underwood without any reservations.” I.S.
"I own a real estate investment company that operates across multiple states (California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and more), whenever I run into an issue that needs legal attention, Eli is my first call. I've been working with him for years. He is an amazing attorney and I highly recommend him." Thank you for your help Sir!" T.W.
"Mr. Underwood is a fantastic Lawyer with extraordinary ethics. He responds quickly, which is rare these days, and he is very knowledgeable in his craft. It was a pleasure working with him and we will definitely use his services in the future if needed. Thank you for your help Sir!" M.O.
"Eli took our case and controlled every hurdle put before us. I one time commented to him that he must love his job because it seemed that he was always available. When talking about my case to anyone I always bring up where, I believe, the other parties Lawyer tried to take advantage of my wife and me. Eli stopped him in his tracks. On top of it being easy to work with Eli, it was a pleasure to have had him represent us. We were in good hands." E.T
"We were in need of an attorney with considerable knowledge of real estate law and the legal issues related to property ownership. Eli Underwood went above and beyond our expectations. In keeping us abreast of our suit, his communication skills were outstanding. This talent was especially demonstrated when dealing with the apposing counsel. We feel this gave us a tremendous advantage over the opposing party that resulted in us reaching a successful outcome. I would highly recommend Eli Underwood as we found him to be an exceptional attorney." P.B.
"In our need for legal services we found Eli to be well informed and on top of our case and our needs. Our's was not an ordinary case as it was a case with many facets. It was a very convoluted case. There were multiple owners involved in a property dispute where one of the owners sued the rest of the owners with a Partition Suit. Needless to say Eli was instrumental in helping us resolve our differences and gained us a profitable sale all with good end results for all. If you hire Eli Underwood you will not be disappointed!" M.A.