Steps to Partition a House in Palm Beach County
If you own a house in Palm Beach County, Dale County, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami, there may come a time that you want to sell it. Property owners typically have the right to sell their property any time they want. An exception to this general rule is if the house is owned by more than one person. For example, if you learn during the estate administration process that your parent left you and your 4 siblings the family home, then you will be the co-owner of that house along with your siblings. You would not have the legal right to sell it without agreement from your siblings. They may want to keep it. The good news is that Florida law does not require people to retain ownership of real estate they don’t want. Through a civil lawsuit known as an action for partition, you can force a sale of the house even if your co-owners don’t want to sell it. If you co-own property and your co-owners don’t want to sell it, contact an experienced Palm Beach County partition lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. With decades of experience representing clients in complicated transaction, we understand the steps to partition a house in Palm Beach County.Steps to Partition a House
- Filing a complaint. If co-owners are not able to agree on how to dispose of the property, any co-owner can initiate an action for partition by filing a complaint at the court in the county where the property is located. The complaint must include a description of the property at issue, the names and addresses of the owners, and the percentage of ownership held by each owner. FL Stat § 64.041
- Answer.The non-petitioner co-owners will have the opportunity to respond to the partition complaint.
- Judgement for partition. The court will determine the rights and interests of the co-owners and will enter a judgment for partition. The court will then order the partition based on the percentage interest of each owner. While in many instances each owner has an equal interest, that is not always the case. Also, if an owner establishes that they have been providing the maintenance on the property for years, have paid for major renovations, or had been making most of the mortgage payments, the court will take that into consideration when determining the ownership interest in the property.
- Appointment of commissioners. The court appoints three people to serve as commissioners to develop a plan for partition. FL Stat § 64.061.
- Report of the commissioners and objections. They will provide the court with a written report about how the property should be divided. The owners have 10 days after it is served to file objections to the commissioners’ report. If there are no objections or the objections are determined to be unfounded, the court will issue a final judgement giving the owners title to their portions of the divided property.
- Selling indivisible property. If the commissioners determiner that the property cannot be divided, the court may order the property be sold at public auction to the highest bidder. The proceeds from the sale are divided among the owners in proportion to their interest.
- Payment of expenses. All owners must pay a share of the expenses of the partition. These expenses may include attorneys’ fees and court costs. The expenses are apportioned to the owners based on their interest in the property. Generally, the larger the interest the larger the share of expenses the owner will have to pay. If the property was sold, the costs and fees are deducted from the proceeds of the sale.
If you are a co-owner of property in the greater Palm Beach County, Dale County, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami area and have questions about the steps to partition a house, contact an experienced partition attorney serving Palm Beach County at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. While the process can be complicated, we will help you make it as painless as possible under the circumstances and we will ensure that your interests are protected. Contact us at 561-710-4000 for a free no obligation consultation. We give our clients individualized attention.