Did you inherit your parents’ house or vacation home? Did your parents leave the house to you and your siblings together? They probably meant well. But this arrangement can lead to a lot of problems, especially if you and your siblings don’t get along.
Co-owning property means that everyone has to agree whether to sell or take other actions on the property. Co-owner siblings who have a strained relationship may struggle to come to such an agreement.
This can be as simple as figuring out how to share the property — for example, who gets to use the beach house on the Fourth of July — or as high-stakes as deciding when it’s time to sell. If you cannot work out a compromise and emotions are high enough that dispute resolution methods like mediation are not likely to work, a partition action may be the best solution available.
Partition actions and sibling property disputes
A partition action is when a co-owner of a piece of real estate goes to court to ask the judge to take one of two actions:
- Force the other owners to sell the property to a third party, or
- Have one co-owner buy out the others.
If the judges approves, a partition action can resolve a potentially explosive dispute that might tear your family apart.
Litigation between relatives is rarely easy. Taking your sister or brother to court is the last resort for most people. But it may be necessary to protect your property and inheritance rights. And it can end the dispute instead of letting it drag on for years.