By: Justin C. Carlin
When property (such as real estate or a building) is co-owned and not capable of being divided in half (e.g., a house cannot be cut in half without ruining the house), either co-owner may petition the Circuit Court in which the property is located to have the property partitioned—i.e., sold by an Order of the Court, with the proceeds from the sale, after payment of the costs of the sale and attorneys’ fees associated with the partition action, divided between the co-owners in accordance with his or her proportionate ownership interest in the property.
The procedures for partitioning property are set forth in Chapter 64 of the Florida Statutes. In addition, there are several appellate court decisions that have interpreted that Chapter. Taken together, the rules for partitioning property are well-defined but, unfortunately, often misunderstood or misapplied, even by experienced lawyers and judges. Moreover, some of the rules are counter-intuitive, resulting in the erroneous application of the rules by trial courts and the implementation of nonsensical strategies by lawyers initiating or defending against partition actions. These patterns are illustrated by (among other things) the frequency at which appellate courts have reversed all or a portion of trial courts’ decisions relating to the partition of property. READ MORE