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Partition Referee

Partition Referee Property

Partition Referee Matters

Griswold Law consistently acts as a court-appointed partition referee in the State of California. A Partition Referee is nominated and appointed when disputes arise between co-owners of real property, such as land or buildings. Co-owner disputes often include differences in opinion regarding whether the property should be retained, sold immediately, or sold at a later date. 

Unfortunately, this often happens within families, especially when adult siblings inherit property from a deceased parent. 

Most often, the partition referee is seen as a last resort when other forms of conflict resolution have been unsuccessful. A partition referee will be ordered by the court to sell the property that is in dispute and oversee the distribution of the sale’s proceeds between co-owners in a fair and appropriate manner. 

A common example is when three parties jointly own a piece of property: Party A wants to sell the property and split the proceeds, but Party B wants to wait until the market warms up, and Party C wants to retain the property long-term and collect rental income from an existing tenant. As a last resort, one or more parties will seek the appointment of a partition referee to “partition” the property. There are three typical ways real property can be partitioned:

Option 1: Sale & Distribution of Net Proceeds to the Co-Owners

In the above scenario with three co-owners of a property who can’t agree on the best course of action, the partition referee may be appointed to sell the property and split the proceeds between each of the co-owners. 

This is often the easiest and most straightforward solution. The referee will take into consideration things like what percentage of the property is owned by each involved party so that the proceeds are split appropriately. 


Option 2: Physical Division of the Real Property

Physically dividing the property between owners is not an option for every type of real estate. For example, a single-family home or duplex cannot be reasonably partitioned into smaller portions. If, however, the owners are disputing a multi-building property or raw land, physical division may be a fair and equitable solution. 


Option 3: Sale of One Co-Owner’s Interest in the Real Property to Another Co-Owner

If the dispute is best remedied by allowing the property to be retained by one or more of the owners, a straightforward strategy is to sell one co-owner’s interest to another. This is a great way for the owner who wants to leave to be able to do so, while the owner or owners who want to retain their ownership can do so as well. 

Richardson “Red” Griswold’s Excellent Track Record as a Partition Referee

If you find yourself in an unresolvable dispute, Griswold Law may be able to help! If appointed by the courts, Red Griswold and the Griswold Law team provide exceptional service to execute an efficient and equitable outcome. 

Check out this scenario in Laguna Beach, California: Griswold Law completed a long and complicated sale of a multi-unit oceanfront property, bringing in about $5.42 million. After being appointed as partition referee by the Orange County Superior Court, he was authorized to act as the court-authorized seller in the transaction. 

This process required careful attention to detail and special processes, as the property had significant historic value. By the end of the process, everyone was satisfied with the outcome.

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The Griwold Law Team

Griswold Law, APC

705 N. Vulcan Avenue
Encinitas, CA 92024

T: (858) 481-1300
F: (888) 624-9177
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