Two common ways people come to jointly own property is through inheritance, or when jointly buying a vacation home. When all joint owners are getting along, everything is great. However, it is common for disputes to arise over jointly owned property. Partition proceedings are common methods of resolution to property disputes in North Carolina.
Typically, the easiest way to resolve such property disputes is to sell the home for fair market value and split the proceeds, but this is only effective if all parties agree. If parties cannot agree, partition proceedings come into play. Partitioning is the division of property, real or personal, by joint owners. There are two kinds of partition proceedings, partition in kind and partition by sale.
Partition in Kind
Partition in Kind also known as Actual Partition occurs when the property is physically divided amongst the owners. This means that each owner gets an equitable share of the land. This approach is favored by Courts, however, it is often difficult to achieve. Partition in kind works best when dealing with large properties or multiple lots that are easy to divide and contain usable land. While this approach is preferred by courts, a party may show that a partition in kind would result in substantial injury to that parties interest and force a partition by sale instead. Some examples of substantial injury to a parties interest include when the property is a small lot with a single residence (such as with vacation homes) and cannot equitably be divided, or if the property where physically divided one party would end up with unusable land. The party claiming a substantial injury has the burden of proving that such injury would occur if the property is partitioned in kind.
Partition by Sale
Partition by Sale occurs when the property is sold at fair market value and the proceeds are divided in accordance with each owners share. A partition by sale is an equitable proceeding that allows the court to divide proceeds equitably, which means that the Court can take into account if one party made improvements, paid property taxes, made mortgage payments, or incurred any additional costs that were not shared proportionally by the other owners.
If you jointly own property and are interested in discussing having it partitioned and want to discuss your options, we are here to help. Contact King Law at 888-748- (5464)KING for a consultation. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. King Law is here to serve you and help navigate this journey you are on.