In the USA, the general rule is that parties generally pay their own attorney’s fees in litigation. Of course, there are exceptions to this “American Rule”. One exception is where a statute allows a recovery of attorney’s fees. There is such a statute in Virginia in relation to partition suits.
Virginia has a statute regarding payment of attorney’s fees in a partition suit.
The answer to the question of attorney’s fees depends on a couple variables. If you have issued the partition suit with the help of an attorney, and the opposing party is not represented by counsel, then the court allows for reasonable fees to be collected from the unrepresented party to cover the cost of services rendered pursuant to Virginia Code § 8.01-92. However, if all parties are represented by attorneys, then most likely your attorney’s fees will be your responsibility. Keep in mind that the statute allows for an award of “reasonable fees” for “services rendered to the parceners unrepresented by counsel”. This means that you would likely be splitting your attorney’s fees with these parties unrepresented by counsel.
Do you have a good faith reason to contest the partition suit?
Please note, if you are named in a suit of partition, and you do not have solid grounds to contest the partition, then it may not be in your best interest to strongly contest the need to sell the property. Every case is different; so, it is a good idea to consult an attorney to determine what your obstacles may be and what course of action will best suit your needs. You may even talk to counsel about your right to buy out the other owners of the property. This can be an option in lieu of selling the property to a third party.
If you are considering a suit of partition, it is prudent to make every effort to resolve disagreements outside of litigation. Meet with family members or business partners to discuss the particulars of each party’s wishes to see if a compromise is possible. Obviously every situation is different, and if legal action is the only resolution, then please consult an attorney. Contact our office if you need representation.