What Is a Petition to Partition in Massachusetts?

A Petition to Partition divides ownership of a property.
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A Petition to Partition, also known as a Petition for Partition, is a legal device used in Massachusetts to divide ownership of a piece of property. Often the property in question has been inherited by more than one person.

When to File a Petition

Sometimes a decedent leaves a property to more than one heir either as tenants in common or as joint tenants. This is often the case when a parent leaves a house to more than one child jointly. If the heirs cannot amicably come to an agreement to divide and/or sell the property, one of the joint owners can file a Petition to Partition.

Effect of a Petition

If the petition is granted, the property will either be physically divided or sold with the proceeds distributed equally. A co-owner may alternatively buy out the other owner's share.

How to File a Petition

Inheritance of real estate is a probate matter, and property issues are land matters. Petitions for Partition can therefore be filed in either the Land Court or the Probate Court of the county where the subject property is located. There is a filing fee for the petition, and the parties may have to pay for a court-appointed commissioner, a broker, an appraisal and attorney fees.