Brief Fact Summary. Cotenants of property filed complaint to force partition of land held as tenants in common.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The court must analyze the best interests of all parties to determine whether to partition land in kind or partition via sale.
Issue. Does a partition by sale promote the best interests of the parties when there is a statutory preference for partitions in kind?
Held. There is an error and the judgment is set aside and the case is remanded for further proceedings.
To determine whether a partition in kind or partition by sale is in the best interests of the parties, the court must look to the interests of all the parties, not just the economic gain to one tenant.
The trial court failed to account for the fact that one of the tenants has been in exclusive possession of the property, resides on the property and derives her livelihood from use of the property. These factors must be given due weight.
The court must look to whether the property can be practically and physically divided.
A partition by sale should be ordered only when (1) the physical attributes of the land are such that a partition in kind is impracticable or inequitable; and (2) the interests of the owners would better be promoted by a partition by sale.View Full Point of Law