Land Division / Partition Process
File a Petition to Partition
If you and the other joint owner(s) cannot agree on a sale or specific land division, you can file a petition to partition land in the county where the land is located. This means you are filing a legal document at the courthouse requesting the court to divide the land or force a sale of the property. Partition means to divide. You will need to list the names of the joint owners of real estate, the share of interest each joint owner has, and the description of the property to be divided.
Service on the Joint Owner
Each real estate owner must be served with citation obtained from the court clerk. A citation is a summons or command to appear and answer the request to divide or sell the land. Texas provides rules for addressing unknown owners.
The parties will appear before the Court for a determination of the ownership share, any questions of law or equity affecting the property. Determination of ownership is essential to making sure all owners affected by the proceedings are involved and protected. Examples of questions of equity would include
- factual arguments why or why not the property can be divided
- how the property should be divided
- who gets what piece
- access to the property and the improvements, if any
The Court will determine whether the property can be divided equitably or must be sold so each owner can get an equal share.
The Property Is Capable of Division
If the whole or any part can be divided, the Court will appoint 3 commissioners to make the division. The commissioners must proceed to partition. They may call for a survey of the whole and for the partitioned parts. An appraisal may be ordered. The commissioners are required to divide the land equally in value taking into consideration the quantity and advantages of each share. After making the decision, the commissioners will report to the Court the ownership shares and legal descriptions of the property.
The Real Estate Cannot Be Divided Equally
The real estate may be incapable of partition. A house for example would be incapable of partition because you cannot cut a house in half. The court will order a receiver appointed to sell the land if the property is incapable of division. A receiver is a person placed in charge of the property and given the responsibility to sell the property and distribute the proceeds.
Malley Law Firm | Houston Property Law Attorney
Malley Law Firm represents property owners who want to force a sale of the land or separate his or her ownership of land from co owners. If you are a joint owner of land in Texas and need to divide or sell your ownership, please contact us for a consultation.