VERMONT PARTITION LAW
How Filing a Partition Action in VT Can Compensate You For Your Property Interest
When two or more people own property jointly in Vermont, each person has an absolute right to partition their interest in the property if they no longer wish to utilize or own the land or buildings. When one party wants to divide the land, they can sometimes work out a contractual agreement with the other parties and their attorneys. This is called a voluntary partition. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, they will have to file the action in court, asking for a judicial partition by court order.
Property can be partitioned in two ways. A partition in kind physically divides the land by carving out a portion for each party to be the sole owner of. Because it can be difficult to divide buildings and structures, however, most partitions are done by sale. In a partition by sale, the property is sold at auction and the proceeds are divided by the co-owners. The means of dividing the property or proceeds is determined by the tenancy that the co-owners had when they took title to the property. If they were tenants in common, they split the property according to their percentage of ownership interest. If they were joint tenants, they split the property equally. In Vermont, a married couple can take title to property as tenants by the entirety, and if they wish to divide property it is usually within the divorce context.
Vermont is a lien theory state, which means that any lender or bank with a mortgage on the property has a lien for the outstanding loan amount. Any lien must be satisfied in full before the property can be partitioned or the proceeds from a sale at auction can be disbursed.