How To File a Partition Action in Washington State – Protect Your Property Rights

In Washington, if two or more people own a piece of property jointly, each party has an absolute right to partition the property if they no longer wish to co-own it. A partition can be a voluntary partition if the parties and their attorneys can work out a contractual agreement to divide the property. If not, the party that petitions for a partition can get a court-ordered division of property after partition litigation.

There are two main ways to divide property in a partition. The first kind is a partition in kind. A partition in kind physically divides the land by carving out separate portions for each owner. This is usually only done in vacant land, as it would be difficult to split a home or structure on the land. The other type is partition by sale, where the property is sold at auction and any proceeds are divided between the two parties. When land or money is divided, the percentages are determined by the type of tenancy the parties had when they owned the land. If they were joint tenants, they will partition the property in equal shares. If they were tenants in common, they will partition the land according to each party’s percentage of ownership interest.

Washington State is a title theory state, which means that any lender with an outstanding mortgage on the property has title to the premises through a deed in trust. This makes them a necessary party to any partition litigation that occurs. Even though they are a necessary party, they are not able to effectuate a partition themselves, because a lender’s remedy is a foreclosure action. If you own property in Washington State and you are interested in a partition, you should speak with a real estate attorney.