A Partition Action is a civil lawsuit to force the sale of Florida real estate. Florida law allows property to be owned jointly by several persons or entities. Often times, joint owners of a property cannot agree on the management or sale of a property or even one joint owner does not want to sell. So, a Partition Lawsuit is a request by one owner to the court to force the sale of the property.
There are many reasons why Florida property owners may decide that a partition of property is needed. The three (3) most common reasons are when children inherit property and become joint owners, when an unmarried couple owns property jointly and then split up, or when a business partnership dissolves and cannot agree on the division of its assets.
A partition action can be filed by a joint owner of a property except if the property is owned by a husband and wife as tenants by the entireties. The Defendants to the lawsuit are all of the other owners of the property. The lawsuit must be filed in the County in which the property is located.
Once a lawsuit for a partition is filed, the court must decide whether the property should be sold and how the proceeds of the sale should be divided amount the owners. Some owner may be entitled to receive a higher share to the sale proceeds for improvement or contributions that they made to the property such as mortgage payments or property taxes. If there are mortgages or liens on the property, the mortgages and liens must be satisfied from the sale proceeds before the remainder is divided amount the owners. Each owner is responsible for a share of the attorney fees and court costs, which are incurred for the action.
Partition Defense: What Happens if I’m the One Being Sued?
What happens when I don’t want to the sell the property?
One of the most common calls we get is from clients that want to defend against a partition because they want to keep the property. The good news is that you have some options!
Option #1 Settlement
If one or more of the co-owners want to partition the property, but you want to keep it, we can assist you with negotiating a settlement agreement that allows you to keep the property. One of the best things about having a settlement option is that the parties get to negotiate terms that are most important to them. In the event a settlement is not reached privately, we can work to achieve a settlement through mediation. A mediator is an independent person that serves as a go-between to help the parties reach a settlement. Mediators do not take sides. Instead, they remain objective and aim solely to assist the parties to reach an agreement that satisfies both sides.
Option #2 Purchase the Property
Even if you can’t reach a settlement to keep the property, that doesn’t mean you have to lose it. You may be able to purchase the property from the Special Magistrate.
The Special Magistrate is a person appointed by the court to conduct the sale of the property. Once the Special Magistrate has prepared the property for sale, we can help you negotiate the purchase from the Special Magistrate.
Option #3 A Buy-Out under the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act
In July 2020, a new law passed allowing one or more heirs who inherit real property to force a buy-out against the other heirs who want to sell the property. While the Heirs Act applies in only limited circumstances, it is a great option for those who qualify.
But what happens if I want to sell the property?
If you are open to selling the property, we would first work to reach an official agreement to sell the property. Once that agreement is made, the property will be sold, and we will work to achieve a settlement agreement to determine the amount of proceeds each party is entitled to receive. In the event we are unable to reach an agreement privately, we have the option to go to mediation. As discussed previously, a mediator is an independent person that serves as a go-between to help the parties reach a settlement. If we go to mediation, and are still unable to reach an agreement, then we will present our case to court asking the judge to make a determination regarding how to properly divide the proceeds between the parties, and issue an order. The good news is that regardless of whether we’re able to reach agreements outside of court or not, we are experienced with these issues, and can assist you throughout the entire process.
Partition Lawyer Stephen K. Hachey Is Here to Help!
Stephen K. Hachey, an experienced partition attorney, can not only help you determine your options, but he can advise you on the best course of action based on your unique situation. And with offices spread out across Tampa Bay, he’s available and accessible to begin working for you. It is never too late to get help. The Law Offices of Stephen K. Hachey proudly serves Tampa, St Petersburg, Clearwater, Wesley Chapel, Brandon, Riverview, South Tampa, Orlando, Bradenton and everywhere in between.
Know Your Rights Before You Act
Real estate law involves state statutes and laws, which can often be complicated and intimidating. Stephen K. Hachey can explain laws and regulations that govern any and all activity dealing with residential or commercial real estate. As a real estate law firm, the Law Offices of Stephen K. Hachey is committed to helping individuals and businesses in connection with all types of real estate transactions.
Since 2007, the Law Offices of Stephen K. Hachey has been representing clients with needs just like yours, utilizing years of professional experience. Our Memberships and certifications include:
Florida Bar Member Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator Certified Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediator Florida Certified Public Accountant Licensed Florida Realtor
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Phone: (813) 549-0096
Fax: (813) 377-4968
The Law Offices of Stephen K. Hachey, P.A.
15619 Premiere Drive Ste 104A
Tampa, FL 33624
(By Appointment Only)