People in a variety of relationships may own property together because they purchased it jointly or potentially inherited it. Ideally, co-owners equally share financial and practical responsibilities for their property while communicating regularly to prevent surprises and conflicts.
When co-owners have a strained relationship with one another, however, they may struggle to properly maintain the property they jointly own or make use of it as they have long intended. For example, perhaps one of the co-owners is ready to sell the property that they purchased as an investment. However, the other co-owner wants to continue holding the land until the price for nearby property increases even more.
What happens when those who own a property jointly do not agree about what to do with it?
They may need to go to civil court
Texas has numerous laws regulating real property ownership and authorizing the courts to handle disputes. Just like a judge can review an issue with a title claim or a boundary matter, they can also look into a disagreement between co-owners if one of them files a request for a partition action.
During a partition actions hearing, a judge can consider numerous elements, including the shared requirements placed on the co-owners and the desires of each party. They can then potentially take numerous different actions. They could authorize the sale of the property so that the co-owners can share the proceeds.
In cases involving unimproved land, they could divide one property into separate parcels. Judges even have the authority to grant one owner a lien against the property in cases where there may not be enough established equity for one owner to buy the other out and retain the property. There are many possible solutions available that can divide ownership and financial interests in the property.
A lawsuit could lead to a compromise
People often worry that going to court will permanently damage their relationship with their co-owner, but that isn’t always what happens. Lawsuits are frequently a means of communicating one’s level of commitment to resolving a matter.
When a co-owner realizes that they cannot simply ignore a particular issue, they may agree to sit down and work out a solution that both parties can agree upon instead of going to court. For some people who jointly own real property, getting served for a partition action is the motivation the other owner needs to agree to mediation or a sit-down negotiation session.
For these reasons, recognizing that the Texas civil justice system (even if it is just the pressure caused by its very existence) can help resolve a real property dispute can benefit those who are worried about their property ownership rights.