When to pursue a suit for partition


Bill: Yes, sir, thank you for taking my call. I’m in a situation with a party, we have a home together, under joint tenancy. Now, I want to be either buy out or buy them out and I’m having difficulties with that conversation --

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right. Go ahead.

Bill: And I’m wondering just exactly what I’m going to get into by going with this. What I’m finding out is the partition agreement – is that correct?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay, all right. Bill, in the state of Florida, whenever there are two or more owners of a piece of property any one of them can force the property to be sold through a suit for partition. If you had 10 acres of vacant land on the highway, the court might literally take your 10 acres and divide it into two 5 acre parcels and give you each one. However, these days, most properties have a home on them, they cannot be divided, therefore the court would instead – in a suit of partition – order that the property be sold, lay out the guidelines as to what the real estate agent might be, what the listing price might be, what the final acceptance price might be and then also, from those proceeds, they would go into court registry, the court would then pay back the attorney’s fees and court cost, award any special equities and then divide the money between you guys. So Bill, it’s not a great solution, but it is available to you if you and your other owner cannot work it out.

Bill: Okay. What’s – here’s another factor here that I’m very concerned about, I have over double the money than the other party has in the whole.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay. The court does have the ability to award special equities. So, for example, if you put down $20,000 and the other person only put down $10,000, the court could say, “The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to even things out with Bill and give him $10,000.” If you’re the one that’s paid all the real estate taxes, they can reimburse you for that. So again, Bill, these are what I call special equities and the court does have the ability to reimburse you.

Bill: Do we have some sort of --? Here’s another one, when this is taking place and I contact the lawyer to start the litigation with this thing, is the other party subject to paying for half the lawyer?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Absolutely. So, from those sale proceeds, the court is going to pay the attorney and so that ends up that he pays one half and you pay one half.

Bill: I understand. Do you have a thought in your mind of what this is going to cost?

Attorney Tom Olsen: No, but Colonel Airth is the attorney at my office that does suit for partitions, Colonel is at my office right now, Bill, you can hang up with me, call attorney Colonel Airth in my office, he can quote you a fee for doing your suit for partition, at 407-423-5561.