Arizona Real Estate Law – Using a Partition Action to Resolve an Ownership Dispute

It is a frequent occurrence that people who jointly own Arizona real estate find themselves unable to agree about whether to sell and/or how to manage the property. When that happens the Arizona Revised Statutes provide a mechanism whereby one of the owners of the property may compel the sale of the property and distribution of the resulting proceeds.

The partition statute, set forth at A.R.S. Section 12-1211 et seq., provides for the appointment of one or more “commissioners” who are charged with selling the property. If the property can be physically partitioned by dividing it into equitable portions, an owner who wishes to retain ownership of his or her share may be able to do so. In most cases involving single family homes or other properties that are generally not divisible, however, the property will have to be sold and the proceeds distributed.

The commissioner(s) appointed to manage this process will usually be Arizona real estate brokers or other similar professionals who are uniquely qualified to prepare the property for partition and/or sale. Although the court can make whatever order is deemed fair and necessary, the commissioner(s) are usually compensated by receiving a sales commission.

In most cases partition actions do not involve defenses allowing on or more owners to block the sale (unless they want to buy out the other owner(s)). That being the case, partition actions that do not involve other related issues can be handled fairly quickly without excessive expense. Nonetheless, because an Arizona partition action must be filed in the Arizona Superior Court and must strictly comply with the statutory guidelines, a party seeking to force partition of a property or facing a partition complaint filed against him or her should seek professional advice.

An experienced Arizona real estate lawyer should be able to help guide you through a partition action. If you’d like to force a partition a lawyer can help make sure your partition complaint meets the statutory requirement and that the order compelling the partition provides the relief you seek. If a partition action has been filed against you an experienced Arizona real estate attorney can help make sure you receive an equitable hearing and distribution of any partition proceeds.

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