Partition-In-Kind vs. Partition-By-Sale | Comparing California Partition Disputes

There are times within co-owner real estate partnerships when one or both parties determine that it is time to dissolve or split a shared ownership. Depending on the situation and the property owned, the split may require a process known as a partition action.

In a partition action, co-owners of a property can work through the California court system to settle a property ownership dispute – often by splitting ownership equitably between parties. In California, there are two common partition processes: Partition-In-Kind and Partition-By-Sale. Read below to learn the differences between the two methods, and which may benefit your unique situation.


In the California court system, co-owners of a property may follow through a partition action with a “partition-in-kind.” In this partition method, the real estate property is split and distributed among the co-owners as determined by the court. This leaves a portion of the property to each owner, each having their own individual ownership of that property percentage.

According to California legal code, the land must be divided equitably. This may not mean that the splitting of the property falls evenly across the physical property, but rather is distributed based on property value and equity.

A Partition-In-Kind may also occur through the co-owners share proportion. If one owner owns 30% and the other 70%, the property may be split along those equitable share-lines. Other considerations, such as taxes, needed repairs, improvements and more may also go into consideration of the equitable split.


In some cases, Partition-In-Kind is not the most effective or efficient means of splitting the property. In these cases, such as a single-family home, a partition-by-sale may be considered.

In a Partition-By-Sale, the property being disputed is sold and the profits split among the owners according to court determination. In the same way as a partition-in-kind, the sale must be split equitably among those parties involved, and may not fall equally across the sale.

Most commonly, partition-in-kind is the chosen route in California courts due to its broader coverage of property ownership styles. In recent years, hoeverwe, the partition-by-sale process has increased in popularity. Should a party involved in the process refuse the partition-in-kind process, a partition-by-sale may fit the situation and needs more appropriately.

Determine Your Best Partition Method

Regardless of the reason, the process of property dispute can be a difficult one to undergo for all parties involved. The goal of partition actions – both in-kind and by-sale – is to allow for ownership to be divided equitably between parties in such a way that avoids unwanted court costs and long legal battles while ensuring equitable outcomes for all involved. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Partition Action process, it is advised to speak with a trained and experienced attorney with knowledge in this legality. A legal expert can give you guidance in your particular situation, as well as the partition action that would best fit your property scenario.

At the Law Offices of R. Grace Rodriguez, we are dedicated to providing quality partition actions and other legal services across the regions of Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties as well as throughout the San Fernando Valley. Contact our legal team today to learn more about this and other legal matters today.

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