VOLUNTARY PARTITION TO SEPARATE LAND
What to Do When Parties Agree to Divide Property
There are many different reasons why two co-owners will choose to partition a piece of property. Some petitioners are family members who inherited a property jointly after the testator deceased. Some others are business partners or romantic partners who chose to own property together, and, after a deterioration of their relationship, no longer wish to reside together or engage in business together. Lastly, some partitions occur in instances of divorce. This depends on the state law and whether or not a tenancy by the entirety is available to married couples. However, regardless of the cause for the partition, sometimes parties are able to agree on a voluntary partition.
When all parties agree that the land or building should be divided, they must first agree on the method of partition. The land can either be physically divided, or it can be sold and the proceeds from the sale can be split between the co-owners. Once parties agree that the property should be split, and how they wish to split the property, they can enter into a private contractual agreement partitioning their land. However, they will still need attorneys to assist them with this legal procedure. In some states, a court will need to review the documents to ensure that they are completed properly. In other states, the parties will simply need to duly execute the agreement and record all land transfers through the registry of deeds.
Sometimes, however, the parties agree that the land should be split, making it a voluntary partition, but then need to commence litigation to determine how the land should be divided. In partitions in kind, there are a multitude of factors that a judge will have to weigh in order to determine what a fair division of the property would be. There could be some parts of the parcel that are less valuable than others, and they will need to take into consideration the usefulness of the property, the value of the property, and the type of tenancy that the co-owners originally held the property in. The type of tenancy will determine whether the parties are to divide the property equally between them, or if they should divide the property in a proportional manner, based on the original contributions to the acquisition of the property.