Partition Actions in Connecticut
There are many ways people may come to own real property together; an unmarried couple may purchase a home to test the idea of cohabitating or multiple siblings may inherit real property from their parents. The couple may find that they are incompatible, and the siblings may have different ideas of how the property should be used. Whatever the circumstances, conflicts over the disposition of a real property owned by multiple parties may have to be sorted out by filing a partition action in Connecticut Superior Court. Partition actions are equitable actions providing the court the authority to determine awards based on the evidence presented, including the value of the property and the equitable interests of the parties.
A joint property owner is entitled to partition as of right pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 52-495, et seq. This is known as a Partition in Kind, which occurs when the property is physically divided, equitably and fairly, between the co-owners. Each co-owner will receive a certain percentage of the property. The Partition in Kind process is primarily reserved for parcels of land that can be easily divided.
It is not always practical for Courts to divide property in this manner, so they have been provided discretion to order a partition by sale (Conn. Gen. Stat § 52-500). In these circumstances courts will order that the property be sold at judicial auction and the proceeds be paid into court. The court will then balance the equities of the parties on a case-by-case basis and determine an equitable distribution of the proceeds to the properties’ co-owners. Courts will consider a wide range of factors to calculate the amount each owner should receive, including the property’s market value, the ownership interest of the parties, and the costs and labor associated with the improvements, repairs, and maintenance made by the parties for the property.
If you own real property with multiple owners and are having problems reaching a consensus as to how it should be used or maintained, contact Santolo Odierna in the Brown Paindiris & Scott Litigation Department for a consultation today.