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Could co-owners of a North Dakota property benefit from a partition action?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2023 | Business Law

Homeownership is a common goal, but it is one that many people need help to achieve. Many properties in North Dakota belong to more than one person. It is common for spouses and romantic partners to purchase property together. Sometimes siblings or even cousins inherit real property jointly when a parent or other family member dies.

Sharing ownership responsibilities can be beneficial in numerous ways. It decreases how much one person has to pay and how much time they must invest to maintain a property. However, co-owners are somewhat trapped by the need to secure approval from one another before proceeding with major transactions or alterations to the property.

Those who own a property jointly with someone else may eventually want to pursue a partition action in the North Dakota civil courts. How can such civil proceedings benefit those who jointly own real property?

A partition action can separate ownership interests

For someone to sell or even refinance the loan attached to a property that is jointly owned, they will need the permission of the other parties on a title. If the co-owners have different opinions about what should happen with the property, they may end up in an ownership stalemate where neither can really do what they want.

In a partition action, someone with a shared ownership interest in real property can ask a civil court judge to review the situation and help divide the property or its value. In some cases, a partition action could lead to a judge ordering the sale of shared real property. Other times, they could grant ownership to one party provided that they refinance and give equity to the other.

If the property has unimproved acreage, a judge could even divide the property into multiple parcels so that each owner has a separate parcel at the end of the process. The type of property and the desires of the co-owners will influence what a judge decides to do.

Generally speaking, a partition action should only be the last resort when co-owners have otherwise proven that they are unable to resolve a disagreement. Learning more about civil proceedings and real estate law can benefit those who may need to change their financial circumstances or ownership-related circumstances.