What is a partition, and why does it matter? When co owners hold title to property together and they have a disagreement over how to sell or dispose of the property, the only way to lawfully resolve the dispute is to file a partition action. Our client previously purchased a house with her boyfriend and when they broke up, she wanted to remove herself from the deed he would not agree to it.
Our client hired Thomas Kenny of Kenny, Burns & McGill to represent her interests. Attorney Kenny filed a partition action at Philadelphia City Hall located at 1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia PA.
Pa. R.C.P. 1557
, which governs divisions of real property, provides as follows:
“If the court determines that there shall be partition because of a default or admission or after a hearing or trial, the court shall enter an order directing partition which shall set forth the names of all the co-tenants and the nature and extent of their interests in the property.”
For the Court to direct a partition, the parties need only agree upon the fact that title is held by both parties. When that question has been answered in the pleadings, it is then up to the Court to determine what share of the property is owned by which party and enter a preliminary order directing partition and scheduling a preliminary conference.
The preliminary conference as prescribed by Pa. R.C.P. 1558, which provides, in full:
(a) The court, after the entry of the order directing partition, shall direct the parties or their attorneys to appear for a preliminary conference to consider
(1) whether the parties can agree upon a plan of partition or sale;
(2) the simplification of the issues;
(3) whether any issues or matters relating to the carrying out of the order of partition shall be referred to a master; and
(4) such other matters as may aid in the disposition of the action.
(b) The court, at any time after the preliminary conference, may appoint a master to hear the entire matter or to conduct any sale, or to act upon only specified issues or matters relating to the carrying out of the order of partition.
The controlling Rules of Civil Procedure are clear about the procedure which must be followed in partitioning real property.
The Order Directing Partition is merely a precursory order which is necessary to terminate a joint tenancy. The second stage of a partition action is more consequential and is the purely equitable proceeding during which the parties may refine their claims, agree upon a plan of partition or sale, and so forth. Kapcsos v. Benshoff,
194 A.3d 139 (Pa. Super. 2018).