Whether you’re gay or straight, many couples own homes together without the fun of marriage. So what happens to that co-ownership of property when you want to end the relationship? If you’re married, a divorce solves that problem. But if you’re not married, or you own property as part of a business partnerhship, partition is your legal way out. In a partition, a co-owner can sue the other owner (or owners) to force a sale of the property, and the proceeds from the sale are divided evenly. Your first choice is to work something out amicably outside the court. But knowing the messiness that comes with ending a relationship, communication is often impossible.

Here’s how a partition works:

1) One of the property’s owners files a complaint for partition.

2) A Notice of Pendency (Lis Pendens) is recorded.

3) At a court hearing, a referee is appointed to sell the property. (The referee is a neutral party who oversees the process and ensures fairness for both owners.)

4) The referee hires a real estate agent who sells the property.

5) The proceeds are used to first pay off lienholders (mortgages, etc.) and the rest is divided between the co-owners.

6) The end – both parties walk away and never have to see each other again.

Costs for Partition:

1) Attorney’s Fees

2) Referee Fees

3) Real Estate Broker Commission

4) Litigation Guaranty (Insurance)

5) Court Filing Fees

Many attorneys will handle partitions on a flat-fee basis. This process is straightforward and should not intimidate you.

It’s a clean way to divide property held between you and partner, so that you both get what’s fair and move on with your lives.

The above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please seek advice from counsel.