Settling a Partition Case in Massachusetts

I was recently successful in settling a partition case for several of my clients, who co-owned a vacation property with several other family members. My clients wanted the home sold and the other family members did not. I was retained to file a partition case and have the court order a property sale. I negotiated a settlement that saved my clients significant time and money.

What is Partition?

Real estate can (and often is) owned by multiple owners. If one owner wants to sell the property, and the other owners are not agreeable to a sale, any owner may file for partition. Such cases are commonly brought in Land Court.

An important part of the partition process is the rule that any property owner has an absolute right to seek partition. This means that, if one owner wants out, the property will eventually need to be sold.

Settling a Partition Case: What to Know

For this reason, the best way to succeed in a partition case is to avoid one in the first place. Such a case, inevitably, will result in court costs and attorney fees which can be avoided if the parties work the matter out on their own.

To do this, it is critical to know the numbers:

  • How much is owed on the mortgage loan?
  • How much is the property worth?
  • How much did each party contribute towards the property?

Knowing these numbers will go a long way towards negotiating a favorable resolution for such a case.

Settling a Partition Case: How It is Done

Resolving a partition case is typically done in one of two ways. First, the parties can simply agree to sell the property and split the proceeds, based on what each party is entitled to. It is often a good idea to hire an experienced, credible real estate broker for such a sale, who will help get the best price possible for the property.

The other option is for one party to buy out the other owner’s share of the property. This option requires the parties to agree on the appropriate property valuation timeframe for this to be done.

In the case that I settled, my clients and the opposing party chose the second option and worked out a sale of the home on their own terms. This saved everyone significant money and brought the matter to an amicable resolution.

Final Thoughts

Resolving a partition case is almost always better than litigating one of these matters in court. If you need assistance with such a case, contact me for a consultation.