In the realm of Florida real estate, partition actions are a common legal recourse when co-owners of a property find themselves at an impasse regarding its sale or possession. These actions become particularly prevalent in situations where property is inherited by multiple heirs, when romantic relationships dissolve, or when business partnerships end on rocky terms. This article delves into the intricacies of partition lawsuits in Florida, shedding light on the duration, costs, and legal intricacies involved.

Understanding Partition Lawsuits

A partition lawsuit is a legal action initiated to compel the sale of real estate, often referred to simply as "property." Such a lawsuit typically arises when two or more co-owners of a property cannot reach a consensus on key decisions. This could be disagreements on whether to retain the property, proceed with its sale, or how to equitably distribute the proceeds post-sale. Common plaintiffs in these cases range from ex-partners in a romantic relationship to heirs, family members, etc.

Partition Action Frequently Asked Questions

The primary outcome of a partition lawsuit is usually the sale of the property. Following the sale, the proceeds are divided among the co-owners. This division takes into account their respective ownership stakes and any contributions they've made towards property-related expenses. These expenses can encompass mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance premiums, and essential repairs.

Duration and Legal Work Involved

On average, a partition lawsuit in Florida demands approximately 12 hours of legal work. This work is spread out over a span of 9 to 12 months. However, it's worth noting that if the involved parties reach a settlement, the lawsuit might conclude in less than the typical 9 to 12-month timeframe. Settlements can significantly expedite the resolution process, ensuring that all parties reach a mutually agreeable solution without prolonged legal battles.

Cost Breakdown

Navigating a partition lawsuit comes with its associated costs. Here's a detailed breakdown:

Legal Costs: Initiating or defending a partition lawsuit requires an upfront payment of $500. This covers various legal costs, notably court filing fees.
Nonrefundable Minimum Legal Fees: Our firm charges a nonrefundable fee of $4500 for either filing or defending against a partition lawsuit. This amount is due at the outset.
Contingency Option: For those who prefer a different payment structure, our firm offers a contingency option. Under this arrangement, both legal costs and attorney fees are deducted from the sale proceeds of the property. This means you only pay once the property has been successfully sold and the proceeds are available.

Recovering Attorney Fees and Costs

One of the frequent questions we encounter is whether clients can recover their attorney fees and associated costs. The answer is nuanced. If the property undergoes partitioning, the court can award attorneys’ fees and costs. The amount awarded is commensurate with the services rendered and the overall benefit to the partition lawsuit.

Defenses and Alternatives to Partition Lawsuits

While the partition is a right between co-owners, there are potential defenses and alternatives:

Equitable Defenses: In certain scenarios, equitable defenses might be available to co-owners.
Buy-out Options: The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act offers provisions on how one co-owner can legally buy out the interests of the other co-owners.
Settlement Options: Before resorting to a lawsuit, co-owners can explore settlement options. This could involve agreeing to sell the property and determining how to split the proceeds or opting for a buyout.

Sale of the Property

In the event of a court-mandated sale, a neutral third party, known as a Special Magistrate, is appointed to oversee the sale. This individual, a licensed real estate broker, charges the standard real estate commission of 6% from the sale proceeds.

Mortgages and Liens in Partition Lawsuits

Any existing mortgages or liens on the property are addressed before dividing the sale proceeds among co-owners. The proceeds from the partition sale are first used to satisfy these financial obligations. The remaining amount is then distributed among the co-owners, either based on a pre-agreed settlement or a court order.

Recommendations and Advice

Partition lawsuits can be intricate, with multiple factors to consider. It's highly recommended to engage an experienced real estate attorney to navigate this process. Their expertise can provide clarity, ensure your rights are protected, and potentially save you both time and money.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.


Stephen K. Hachey P.A. Stephen K. Hachey P.A.
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