Partition Actions In Philadelphia: Sorting Out the Options

Many people own property with another without any disagreement or conflict. However, this is not always the case. Individuals who co-own property occasionally disagree about how it is best used, whether to improve it or whether it should be sold.

While the best solution is for the parties to agree on the property’s fate, all states, including Pennsylvania, have laws governing the division of property through a partition action.

Hypothetical Scenario

Most partition cases involve real property such as homes, office buildings or cabins. Take for example a family of three siblings, two brothers and one sister, who just inherited their family cabin. The cabin is located on prime real estate on a popular lake, but it requires a lot of maintenance and upkeep, including the payment of all appropriate property taxes.

One brother uses the cabin often and can afford the annual costs, but is not financially able to purchase the other sibling s’ shares. The sister lives in another state and does not want to keep the property, while the final sibling has debts of his own he must pay.

This is obviously a sticky situation, but an attorney qualified in family law and partition actions can help sort through issues and suggest creative solutions.

Partition Actions

There are two main forms of a partition action parties may utilize.

  • Partition in kind: The interest of each co-owner is severed resulting in each party owning an individual portion of the whole. This type of partition is also called “actual partition.”
  • Partition by sale: Some properties are difficult to divide among two or more parties, such as a single family home. Therefore, rather than dividing the property, it is sold for a fair value before dividing the proceeds among the co-owners.

Partitions by sale and partitions in kind can be very useful depending on the particular circumstances surrounding a piece of property. Anyone who has questions about partition actions should contact an experienced real estate attorney at their earliest convenience.