Partition of Personal Property

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Personal Property in a Partition Action

A partition action in California can certainly force the sale of jointly owned real property, but can it partition personal property, such as cars or artwork? This is a common question we are asked given our experience as California partition lawyers. Indeed, California law does allow for the partition of personal property in a partition action.

The scope of the partition statutes in California sets forth that: “This title governs actions for partition of real property and, except to the extent not applicable, actions for partition of personal property.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 872.020.

In fact, another section sets forth that: “The complaint shall set forth: (a) description of the property that is the subject of the action. In the case of tangible personal property, the description shall include its usual location.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 872.230(a).

As one court explained: “When several persons are co-owners of real or personal property any one or more of the co-owners may file an action for partition. It then becomes the duty of the court to partition the same and if this cannot be done without great prejudice to such owners, it is the duty of the court to cause the property to be sold and to partition the proceeds among them according to their respective interests.” Rutledge v. Rutledge, 119 Cal. App. 2d 114, 118–19  (Cal. App. 1953) (citing former California Code of Civil Procedure sections 752, 752a).

In Bolan v. Gallagher, 52 Cal. App. 503, 504–05 (Cal. App. 1921), a defendant:

claimed here that the court erred in overruling the demurrer. The action was brought to secure a decree for the partition of real and personal property. Sections 752 and 752a (added by St. 1919, p. 73) Code of Civil Procedure, provide for such relief and the latter section provides that ‘real and personal property may be partitioned in the same action.’ Appellants particularly insist that their demurrer should have been sustained because the alleged causes of action were not separately stated. It is true that the property sought to be partitioned, both real and personal, was described in the single cause of action alleged in the complaint.

Ultimately, the Bolan court affirmed that the demurrer was properly overruled.

While personal property can be partitioned, it is usually only wise to do so in connection with a partition of real property since the legal fees may be very similar to a partition of real property, but personal property is often of lower value.

Contact an Experienced Partition Attorney in California

If you want to end your co-ownership relationship, but your co-owner won’t agree, a partition action is your only option. Our experienced partition lawyers have years of experience ending co-ownership disputes and can help you unlock the equity in your property. For a free, 15 minute consultation with an experienced partition attorney at Talkov Law, call (844) 482-5568 or fill out a contact form online.

About Scott Talkov

Scott Talkov is a real estate lawyer, business litigator and bankruptcy lawyer in California. He founded Talkov Law Corp. after of experience with one of the region's oldest law firms, where he served as one of the firm's partners. He has been featured on ABC 7, CNN, KCBS, and KCAL-9, and in the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Press-Enterpise, and in Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine. Scott has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star every year since 2013. He can be reached about new matters at info@talkovlaw.com or (844) 4-TALKOV (825568). He can also be contacted directly at scott@talkovlaw.com.

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