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Investing in property is usually a worthwhile venture, but it is often expensive and carries some degree of risk. Consequently, many parties choose to mitigate any potential losses by purchasing real estate with partners. People’s goals can change over time, though, and when joint property owners’ objectives diverge, they will often seek to divide the property via partitions. Dividing real estate is a complex process that permanently affects a person’s rights, and it is critical for anyone faced with a disagreement over property to seek legal counsel before pursuing a partition. The Atlanta real estate litigation attorneys of Poole Huffman are skilled at helping people protect their interests. If you are faced with a disagreement regarding a shared property, we can aid you in the pursuit of a favorable result. We regularly represent people in real estate matters in Atlanta, Tucker, and Decatur.

Statutory Partitions in Georgia

Georgia law allows for statutory and equitable partitions. In most instances, parties who wish to divide real estate will seek a statutory partition. Prior to seeking partition under the statute, a property owner must provide a minimum of twenty days’ notice of the intent to pursue a partition to other parties with an ownership interest in the property.

After the petition for a statutory partition is filed, the court will issue a writ for petition and appoint five partitioners. The partitioners will then provide eight days’ notice to all parties with an interest in the property, after which they will partition the land in an equal and just way. Once partitions are returned to the court, interested parties can raise objections. If objections are raised, a jury will hear the matter, but if the parties choose not to object, the partition will become final.

In some instances, a property cannot be fairly divided. For example, when a property has a building, a partition would deplete the value of the entire property, or, if the premises are valuable for certain industries, it may not be possible to come to a fair division. If any party convinces the court that a physical partition would be unjust, the court will appoint three people to appraise the property. The appraised price will then be served on all parties.

Within fifteen days of the service of the appraisal, any party in interest may become a petitioner, and any petitioner can become a party in interest. Any petitioner who remains after the fifteen days is entitled to his or her respective share of the appraised price, which will be considered satisfaction of all of that person’s claims to the property. If no petitioners remain after fifteen days, the matter will be dismissed, and any petitioners who have withdrawn will be liable for the costs of the action.

Between sixteen and ninety days after the appraised price is established, the parties in interest will provide the court sufficient funds to pay the petitioners their share of the appraised price, or the property will be sold to the public. If any party in interest wants to purchase a petitioners’ shares, he or she may do so for the appraised price of that portion of the property. Unless the property is subject to public sale, within 95 days after the appraised price is established, the petitioners must execute title to the parties in interest in exchange for payment of their portion of the appraised price.

Equitable Partition Under Georgia Law

In cases in which statutory partition is unavailable, parties can seek equitable partition. They can also pursue equitable partition if it would be more just and suitable. The courts strictly construe these rules and will often deny parties’ requests for equitable partition if a statutory partition is available. If equitable partition is permitted, the court will determine how to divide the property. If a physical separation is not practicable, the court can order the parties to sell the property and divide the proceeds.

Meet With a Trusted Lawyer in Atlanta

People who co-own real estate will often seek to sever their relationships, requiring them to pursue a partition. If you or your property co-owner wish to divide an asset, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney regarding your options. The trusted lawyers of Poole Huffman have the skills and experience needed to help you seek a favorable and efficient resolution to your disagreement. We frequently help people with real estate issues in Atlanta, Decatur, and in Tucker, where our office is located. We also handle real estate disputes in cities throughout Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, and Gwinnett Counties. You can reach us through our form online or via 404-373-4008 to schedule a meeting.

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