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Real Estate Litigation—Partition by Sale

For most types of jointly-held real estate, any one joint owner can file a complaint seeking that the court force the sale of the property and divide the sale proceeds between the joint owners. This is known as a partition by sale. The court has the discretion to grant the requested relief. If the court orders partition by sale, the court will appoint a trustee to take control of the property for purposes of the sale and to manage and supervise the sale.

While in some cases a partition by sale suits the best interests of all affected parties, these arrangements are often complex and may not be the best option for personal, financial or tax purposes. Other times, the arrangement may lead to future legal disputes. All persons with interests in the property, not just the owners of the property, but also any banks or secured parties with an interest in the property, must be named in the lawsuit. Additionally, to the extent one joint owner has contributed more of the carrying costs of the property, that joint owner may have a claim for reimbursement (contribution) of these costs against his joint-owner(s). And, of course, there are tax consequences to all transactions, including partition by sale of jointly held real estate.

If you are a joint owner considering filing a complaint for partition by sale, the experienced estate lawyers at JDKatz can meet with you to determine if this is the best course of action for you. Real estate litigation involves numerous factors that mus be considered, including the equity you hold in the real estate, the number of individuals or entities who would be parties to the lawsuit, and the tax consequences of the transaction.

On the other hand, if you are defending a complaint for partition by sale, we will assist you in ensuring your interests and stake are protected in court. Our knowledgeable estate lawyers can assist in negotiating buyouts. We also both litigate and negotiate issues of contribution. Our legal counsel and representation is always personally tailored to the goal of delivering value to our clients while minimizing their costs and exposure to risk.

If you are considering a partition by sale or are defending one, call our experienced JDKatz attorneys at (301) 913-2948.


At JDKatz: Attorneys at Law, each of our attorneys brings a unique set of experiences and perspectives to bear on our clients’ legal problems. For each case or task we take on, we assemble a team of lawyers ideally situated to our client’s specific needs and goals. Our managing partner, Jeffrey D. Katz, founded our firm in 2000 after starting his career in the tax department of Big Four accounting firm KPMG Peat Marwick. To learn more about our attorneys’ backgrounds and qualifications, please review their individual profiles.


MD. (301) 913- 2948
D.C. (202) 600- 2600