Selling Your Half of a Jointly-Owned Home
In Palm Beach County, it is not unusual for two or more parties to jointly own a home. In some cases people purchase property together for investment purposes. Spouses and nonmarried couples often buy property together that they use as the family home. One of the most common ways that people end up co-owning property is through inheritance. During the estate administration process, children learn that their parents left them the family house resulting in siblings co-owning the property. What the parents may not have anticipated is that the siblings would not agree on what to do with the house. The result may be one sibling wanting to sell their half of the jointly-owned home. In Florida the only way to sell a jointly owned home if the other owner is not willing to sell is through an action for partition. To learn more about the initiating a partition action, contact an experienced Palm Beach County estate lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates.
An action for partition determines the ownership interests of co-owned property and determines how to sever the co-ownership relationship. Partition of land divides real property among two or more co-owners. See FL Stat § 64.011 et seq. A partition proceeding will result in either the property being divided (partition in kind) or the property being sold (partition by sale).
Note that whether the court orders partition in kind or partition by sale, the transaction will be impacted by a mortgage on the property or any lien on the property. The court will determine each owner’s interest and responsibility for satisfying any encumbrances. If the property is sold, any moneys owed will be paid out of the proceeds of the sale before distribute of proceeds to the owners. Contact an experienced Palm Beach County estate lawyer to learn more about how a mortgage or lien will impact a partition case.
Property partition can occur in two ways: in kind or by sale. The preferred manner of partition is for the property to be divided among the owners. This allows co-owners who did not agree on the use or disposition of the property to sever their interests and enjoy, sell, or improve their individual separate parcels in the manner of their choosing. This is easily done where the property is a parcel of land that does not have any structures built on it such as a vacant lot or farmland. The property could be divided into roughly equal parcels and each co-owner would be given a portion that would be titled in their name only.
Partition in kind is not likely to be possible for a single family home. It would be impossible to divide a house fairly into two separate properties. In addition to considering the practicality of division in kind, the court will look at other facts such as the length of time the property has been owned by the owners and their relatives, and the harm an owner my experience if they cannot continue to use the property in the same manner. FL Stat § 64.209
As an experienced partition attorney in Palm Beach County will explain, if partition in kind is not recommended, the court will order that the property is to be sold at an open-market sale, though sealed bids, or at auction. FL Stat § 64.210. An open-market sale is the preferred method, but the court will use whichever method is in the best interest of the co-owners. The goal is to get the highest price for the property.
If you want to sell your half of a jointly-owned home and the other owner is uncooperative, partition may be your best option. However, partition can be complicated and should not be attempted without the help of an experienced partition attorney serving Palm Beach County. Contact the Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients throughout the following areas: Palm Beach County, Dale County, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.