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Can a Jointly Owned Property Be Sold by One Owner?

Those who co-own property can end up in disputes over what to do with it. Disagreements may develop over whether to keep it or to sell it, whether to renovate it, or whether to use it for investment purposes. The result of the bickering may be that one of the owners wants to sell the property, but the other refuse to. This will leave the co-owner who wants to sell with the question: can a jointly owned property be sold by one owner? The short answer to the questions is yes. In fact, one owner may be able to force a sale of the property. The process for doing this is called a partition action. If you’re in need of an experienced and effective representation for your real estate partition action, contact the a Chicago estate lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Partition Action

A partition action is a legal claim that is initiated when co-owners of property would like to sever their relationship. It is a type of litigation during which one the court settles the question as to how the joint interest in a house, land, or other real property is to be severed and equitably distributed. Any party who owns real party has the right to seek partition unless that right has been restricted by law, by a provision in a will, or by a written waiver.

While partition is often the remedy used to settle a dispute when co-owners disagree on what to do with property, a partition action is not only a remedy to settle disputes. In some instances the parties simply want to divide the property in an equitable way to allow each party do make decisions about the their own property independent of anyone else.

How to Seek a Partition

A partition action is initiated when a co-owner of property files a complaint with the court in the Illinois county where the property is located. Because of the technicalities involved, contact an experienced Chicago estate lawyer to help you initiate your partition action.

The complaint must include the name of each co-owner. If the name of a co-owner is unknown the complaint must mention that there are unknown owners. In addition, it must include anyone who has in interest in the property such as tenants and lien holders. The complaint must also include a description of the property. Finally, as with any complaint, a complaint related to a partition action must include the specific remedy sought by the petitioner: division or sale.

While the petitioner may have requested division, not all property is eligible for division. Only property that can be fairly divided will be. Otherwise, the court will order a sale. If you have questions about whether your specific property can be divided, contact an experienced estate lawyer serving Chicago.

Property that can be easily divided includes a vacant lot, a pasture, or other unimproved property. Typically, single family home cannot be fairly divided. The court has the option of appointing a commissioner to determine if division is possible and how the property should be divided.

If the court determines that division is possible, the property will be divided into parcels and allocated to the various co-owners. The owners will then be individual owners of their respective parcels with all rights that go along with property ownership. They can sell their individual parcels as they see fit.

If the court determines that sale is the property remedy, it will determine its value and offer it at public sale. Proceeds from the sale will be distributed to the former co-owners according to their ownership interest in the original property.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Because typically real estate is a valuable asset, it is not unusual for co-owners to bicker over what to do with it. There are options to consider that will allow you to sell your interests in the property or sever the co-owner relationship. To discuss your options related to your Chicagoland property, contact an experienced estate attorney in Chicago at Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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