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You Cannot Divide A Single Family Residence; Partition By Sale Is The Remedy


So here was the situation; my client and her brother owned their mother’s residence as tenants in common (California Civil Code §686). My client’s brother did not agree with the appraisal that was made of the residence and refused to buy-out my client. Since it is impractical to divide a single family residence in two, my only alternative was to bring an action for partition (California Code of Civil Procedure §872.230) against my client’s brother, requesting that the court order the sale of the real property (California Code of Civil Procedure §872.820).

I filed the lawsuit in Superior Court of Los Angeles County North East District (in Pasadena), because the residence was within that district’s boundaries. I served the summons and complaint (California Code of Civil Procedure §413.10) on my client’s brother. He responded within the thirty day time period allowed for responses to service of a summons and complaint. His responses (technically referred to as an “answer”) basically said that he did not want the residence sold, although it was my client’s right to do so.

The matter was set for hearing. I intended to call my client and the appraiser as witnesses. My client’s brother, who was representing himself, intended to call my client and provide his own testimony.

I won’t go into the trial specifics; suffice it to say that my client prevailed and the residence was ordered sold by the court; how it was sold, however, I will relate in my next post.

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