Who may file a partition suit for real estate in Virginia?
Va. Code § 8.01-81 lists the following people who are able to file a partition action in Virginia: tenants in common, joint tenants, executors with the power to sell, and coparceners of real property. Essentially, anyone with a vested ownership interest in real estate may file suit to compel a partition.
Judicial Sale vs. Partition Suit in Virginia
In most cases, the person filing the suit will ask the Virginia court to compel a sale of a property. See Virginia Code § 8.01-83. Physical partition of real estate is only available under circumstances where it is “convenient.” For example, there are times where you can split acreage into two or more parcels. In one case I was involved in, there were many acres that were conveniently split down the middle by a stream. Obviously, it would not be convenient to have split ownership of a single-family home in the suburbs. You simply cannot split the ownership into multiple titles.
Agreement to Resolve the Real Estate Partition Dispute
People become very emotionally attached to real estate. I have experienced this personally with clients. The property may have been in the family for generations. The family home may hold many excellent memories for one of the co-owners. However, a Virginia court is simply not going to pay special attention to your personal attachment. While the judge may be sympathetic, the real questions are a) whether you have a right to compel partition/sale and b) whether the property may be conveniently partitioned. Other than that, the only ancillary items to deal with are any potential liens on the property and whether any party should receive compensation for payments in excess of their ownership interest. The latter concern occurs in situations where one party has been paying for the upkeep or taxes on the home and other co-owners have not.
In nearly every instance, I will attempt to reach out to the opposing parties before filing a partition suit. This also has the benefit of showing the court that you have tried to remedy the situation without legal action and the other party is not cooperative. Even when litigation becomes necessary, it is important to keep an open mind about settlement. If you are intent on buying the interest of the other parties, you must be ready to explain your offer and prove you have the funds to complete the transaction. You can even make known to the court that you are prepared to buy the interest of the others. Of course, the others might dispute that your offer is fair.
Contact my office to discuss the circumstances of your real estate dispute.
Partition of Real Estate | Estate Litigation Attorney in Richmond, Virginia