What are a co-owner’s rights in a partition action?

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What are a co-owner’s rights in a partition action?

My girlfriend purchased a house with her sister now her sister wants out of the house. My girlfriend paid for her half of the house in cash but her sister still owes 95K. They purchased it for 400k; the house was put on the market for 320k to try and sell at a loss of course to both. It has been for sale for over a year now with no luck. My girlfriend is willing to lose 50k at most. Now her sister wants to lower the price of the house but my girlfriend is not willing to do that. She has offered her sister110k which was refused. Now her sister is seeking a partition. What are my girlfriend’s legal rights?

Asked on March 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your girlfriend needs to go and get an attorney in the area as soon as she can to answer the partition action.  Your girlfriend has the same legal rights as her sister in the ownership of the house.  There needs to be some clarification here.  When you say the her sister "still owes $95K" what do you mean?  That your girlfriend put down $200K in cash and her sister cash plus took out a mortgage for the rest? Those numbers will have to be worked out at a sale, as I am sure that you know.  Now, as for the partition action, all it really is is a request that the court split a jointly held asset in half.  This does not really work for real property so the court just orders the property sold.  This was a tactical move for your girlfriend's sister.  Get legal help.  Good luck.


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