The law allows for three types of partition: (1) Partition by Physical Division, (2) Partition by Sale, and (3) Partition by Appraisal.
- A Partition by Physical Division, also known as a “Partition in Kind,” requires the Court to divide the land proportionally based on its value. The majority of properties with acreage, such as rural properties or undeveloped land, can be divided using this method. If an owner receives a portion of the land significantly less than the share of the money that could be obtained through the sale of the land, a court will not order a Partition by the Physical Division. To prevent owners from using the Partition remedy to divide their parcels of land without first complying with the statutory scheme for the subdivision of property, a court must also adhere to the Subdivision Map Act, zone ordinances, local ordinances, and a general plan for the area where the property is located.
- A Partition By Sale allows a co-owner of real estate to force a sale of the whole property despite the reluctance of any other co-owner. An owner has the absolute right to divide their interests and force a property sale without a waiver. The Court must decide whether the sale and distribution of the proceeds would be more equitable than the property division. A public auction or private sale can be used for the partition by sale, or a referee can recommend that the property be listed for sale with the help of a licensed real estate broker.
- Some states recognize Partition By Appraisal, which lets multiple owners purchase the interest of the other owner(s) at a value assessed by the court-ordered appraisal. This strategy is open only if the interests of all groups are undisputed and the parties agree in writing to move forward with a Partition by Appraisal. While not all states recognize this as a judicial remedy, parties are generally free from the contract for the purchase of the remainder of the property.