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Petition for Partition

Massachusetts Partition Actions: Division of Sale Proceeds

Massachusetts partition actions do not always end with the court-ordered sale of the real estate in question.  After a property being partitioned is sold, the proceeds of the sale must be divided between the co-owners.  The law presumes that the proceeds should be divided in accordance with each owner's respective ownership interest.  For example, if there are two owners who each own 50% of the property, the law presumes that the owners should each receive 50% of the sale proceeds.

Massachusetts Partition Actions: Methods for Disposing of Partitioned Property

Massachusetts partition law provides four methods for partitioning real estate: physical division, private sale, public auction, and "set-off" (a buy-out of the entire property by one or more co-owners).  Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, as well as particular procedural requirements.  Any owner of real estate considering a partition action should decide on a method to pursue before filing a Petition for Partition.

Massachusetts Partition Actions: An Overview

A partition action is a legal proceeding to force the sale of real estate that is held by multiple owners, and to fairly divide the sale proceeds among the owners.  A partition action is often used a last resort when one or more owners want to sell, but cannot agree with the other owners on the terms of the sale.  Partition actions are governed entirely by Chapter 241 of the Massachusetts General Laws.  "Any person, except a tenant by the entirety [a married couple], owning a present undivided legal estate in land, not subject to redemption" has a right to partition under Chapter 241.  M.G.L. c. 241, ยง 1.

Venue for a Petition for Partition in Massachusetts

Parties who bring a petition for partition in Massachusetts have the choice under G.L. c. 241 of filing the action in either the Land Court or in the Probate and Family Court. As to the Probate court, venue is proper in the Probate Court of any county where any part of the land in the petition lies. Venue is proper in the Land Court, which sits in Boston, for any land within the Commonwealth. Where should you bring your case? There are a number of practical factors to consider.

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